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The NEW YORK TIMES Bestseller 




"THE SWORO AND THE SHIELD will stand as an indispensable reference 
work on Soviet espionage tor years to come.' — THE WASHINGTON POST 




Table of Contents 


Title Page 







































THE ... 




























Copyright Page 








RELATIONS, 1900-1945 






























Armed Forces Security [SIGINT] Agency 

Cyprus Communist Party 

American- Soviet Trading Corporation, New 

ASA Army Security [SIGINT] Agency [USA] 

AVH Hungarian security and intelligence agency 

AVO predecessor of AVH 

BfV FRG security service 

BND FRG foreign intelligence agency 

CDU Christian Democratic Union [FRG] 

All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for 
Cheka Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage: 

predecessor KGB (1917-22) 

CIA Central Intelligence Agency [USA] 

COCOM Coordinating Committee for East- West Trade 

Comecon [Soviet Bloc] Council for Mutual Economic 

Comintern Communist International 
















F Line 





Christian Peace Conference 
Communist Party of Canada 
Communist Party of Czechoslovakia 
Communist Party of Great Britain 
Communist Party of the Soviet Union 

Communist Party of the United States of 

Christian Social Union [FRG: ally of CDU] 
Director of Central Intelligence [USA] 
Portuguese security service 
French foreign intelligence service 
Defense Intelligence Agency [USA] 
dead letter-box 

Soviet sabotage and intelligence group 
Bulgarian security and intelligence service 
French security service 

“Special Actions” department in KGB 

Russian (post-Soviet) SIGINT agency 
Federal Bureau of Investigation [USA] 

First Chief [Foreign Intelligence] Directorate, 

Foreign and Commonwealth Office [UK] 

















Federal Republic of Germany 

Government Communications Head-Quarters 
[British SIGINT Agency] 

German Democratic Republic 

Soviet security and intelligence service 
(within NKVD, 1922-3) 

Soviet Military Intelligence 

Soviet security and intelligence service 
(within NKVD, 1943-43) 

Labour Camps Directorate 
intelligence from human sources (espionage) 
GDR foreign intelligence service 
intercontinental ballistic missile 
imagery intelligence 

foreign intelligence department of 
Cheka/GPU/OGPU/ GUGB, 1 920- 1941; 
predecessor of INU 

foreign intelligence directorate of 
NKGB/GUGB/MGB, 1941-54; predecessor 

Irish Republican Army 

Joint Intelligence Committee [UK] 

club of former political prisoners jailed under 
Article 23 1 of the Czechoslovak criminal 

















Club of Non-Party Activists [Czechoslovakia] 

Soviet security and intelligence service (1954- 

Afghan security service 

Soviet foreign intelligence agency, initially 
combining foreign intelligence directorates of 
MGB and GRU (1947-51) 

Greek Communist Party 

breakaway Eurocommunist Greek Communist 

Workers Defence Committee [Poland] 
Austrian Communist Party 

Counter-intelligence department in KGB 

live letter box 

Soviet Ministry of State Security (1946-54) 

Moscow State Institute for International 

British security service 
alternative designation for SIS [UK] 

Monarchist Association of Central Russia 
(“The Trust”) 

Illegal support department in KGB 



















North Atlantic Treaty Organization 

People’s Commisariat for State Security 
(Soviet security and intelligence service, 1941 
and 1943-6) 

People’s Commisariat for Internal Affairs 
(incorporated state 

security, 1922-3, 1934-43) 

National Security [SIGINT] Agency [USA] 
National Security Council [USA] 

People’s [anti-Bolshevik] Union for Defence 
of Country and Freedom 

National Labour Alliance (Soviet emigre 
social-democratic movement) 

Tsarist security service, 1881-1917 
Comintern International Liaison Department 
Office of Strategic Services [USA] 
Operational Technical Support (LCD) 
Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists 
Yugoslav security and intelligence service 
French Communist Party 
Italian Communist Party 
Portuguese Communist Party 
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine 
Portuguese Liberation Organization 



PR Line 















SK Line 

Palestine Liberation Organization 

Workers Unification Party (Spanish Marxist 
Trotskyist Party in 1930s) 

political intelligence department in KGB 

Spanish Socialist Party 

Polish United Workers [Communist] Party 

Royal Canadian Mounted Police 

[White] Russian Combined Services Union 

Raketno-Yadernoye Napadenie (Nuclear 
Missile Attack) 

Strategic Arms Limitation Talks 

Soviet surface-to-air missile 

Polish Security and intelligence service 

Second Chief [Internal Security and Counter- 
Intelligence] Directorate, KGB 

French foreign intelligence service; 
predecessor of DGSE 

Strategic Defense Initiative (‘Star Wars’) 
Socialist Unity [Communist] Party [GDR] 

intelligence derived from interception and 
analysis of signals 

Secret Intelligence Service [UK] 

Soviet colony department in KGB residencies 
Communist Party of Finland 




















Special Operations Executive [UK] 

Social Democratic Party [ERG] 

Soviet special forces 

Socialist Revolutionary 

scientific and technological intelligence 

Austrian police security service 

GDR Ministry of State Security 

Wartime Soviet GHQ/high command 

Czechoslovak security and intelligence 

Russian (post-Soviet) foreign intelligence 

Trades Union Congress [UK] 

United Arab Republic 

Polish security and intelligence service; 
predecessor of SB 

Yugoslav security and intelligence service; 
successor to OZNA 

Soviet Military Industrial Commission 

Supreme Military Council [anti-Bolshevik 
Ukranian underground] 

World Council of Churches 

World Peace Council 

S&T department in KGB residencies 



December 19 17 



February 1922 

Jncor^so-rared iuTO NKVD (a$ GPU) 


July 1923 



July 1934 

Reiacorporaced hi NKVD (as GUGB) 


Febmar)' 1941 



July 1941 

Rehicorporaccd hi NKVD (as. GUGB) 


April 1943 



March 1946 



October 1947- 

Noven^ber 1951 

Foreign Intelligence 
trail sfertcd to KI 


March 1953 

Combined with M\TD to tbrin enlarged M\'T) 


March 1954 


The term KGB is used both generally to denote the Soviet 
State Security organisation throughout its history since its 

foundation as the Cheka in 1917 and, more specifically, to 
refer to State Security after 1954 when it took its final 


We have followed a simplified version of the method 
used by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names and BBC 
Monitering Service. Simplifications include the 
substitution of “y” for “iy” in surnames (Trotsky rather 
than Trotskiy) and of “i” for “iy” in first names (Yuri 
rather than Yuriy). The “y” between the letters “i” and/or 
“e” is omitted (for example, Andreev and Dmitrievich — 
not Andreyev and Dmitriyevich), as is the apostrophe 
used to signify a soft sign. 

In cases where a mildly deviant English version of a 
well-known Russian name has become firmly established, 
we have retained that version, for example: Beria, 
Evdokia (Petrova), Izvestia, Joseph (Stalin), Khrushchev, 
Nureyev and the names of Tsars. 


I have written this book in consultation with Vasili 
Mitrokhin, based on the extensive top secret material 
(described in Chapter 1) which he has smuggled out from 
the KGB foreign intelligence archive. For the past quarter 
of a century, Mitrokhin has passionately wanted this 
material, which for twelve years he risked his life to 
assemble, to see the light of day. He wished to reveal 
“how thin the thread of peace actually was during the 
Cold War.” From that passion this book has been bom. I 
have felt it my duty to ensure that this material, which 
offers detailed and often unique insights into the workings 
of the Soviet State and the history of the Soviet Union, 
achieves the level of public awareness and recognition 
that it deserves. 

Like all archives, those of the KGB require 
interpretation in the light of previous research and related 
documents. The end notes and bibliography provide full 
details of the additional sources used to place Mitrokhin’ s 
revelations in historical context. These sources also 
provide overwhelming corroborative evidence for his 
genuineness as a source. 

Codenames (also known as “worknames” in the case of 
KGB officers) appear in the text in capitals. Many KGB 
codenames were used more than once. In such cases, the 

text and index make clear which individual is referred to. 
It is also important to note that, although certain 
individuals were targeted by the KGB, and may have been 
given codenames, this does not mean that the persons 
named were conscious or witting agents or sources — or 
even that they were aware that they were being targeted 
for recruitment or political influence operations. 
Similarly, the fact that an individual may have endorsed a 
position that was favorable to the Soviet Union does not 
necessarily mean that this person was working as an 
agent, or agent of influence, for the KGB. The KGB 
frequently gave prominent policymakers codenames in 
order to protect the identity of their targets, and to order 
recruited KGB agents to target such individuals. 

For legal reasons, some of the Soviet agents identified 
in KGB files can be referred to in this book only by their 
codenames. In a limited number of cases, chiefly because 
of the risk of prejudicing a possible prosecution, no 
reference can be made to them at all. These omissions do 
not, so far as I am aware, significantly affect the main 
conclusions of any chapter. 

Christopher Andrew 


On October 17, 1995, 1 was invited to the post-modem 
London headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service 
(better known as SIS or MI6) at Vauxhall Cross on the 
banks of the Thames to be briefed on one of the most 
remarkable intelligence coups of the late twentieth 
century. SIS told me how in 1992 it had exfiltrated from 
Russia a retired senior KGB archivist, Vasili Mitrokhin, 
his family and six large cases of top-secret material from 
the KGB’s foreign intelligence archive. Mitrokhin ’s 
staggering feat in noting KGB files almost every working 
day for a period of twelve years and smuggling his notes 
out of its foreign intelligence headquarters at enormous 
personal risk is probably unique in intelligence history. 
When I first saw Mitrokhin’ s archive a few weeks after 
the briefing, both its scope and secrecy took my breath 
away. It contained important new material on KGB 
operations around the world. The only European countries 
absent from the archive were the pocket states of Andorra, 
Monaco and Liechtenstein. (There was, however, some 
interesting material on San Marino.) It was clear that 
Mitrokhin had had access to even the most highly 
classified KGB files - among them those which gave the 

real identities and “legends” of the Soviet “illegals” living 
under deep cover abroad disguised as foreign nationals.- 

Soon after my first examination of the archive, I met 
Vasili Mitrokhin over tea in a conference room at SIS 
headquarters and discussed collaborating with him in a 
history based on his material. Mitrokhin said little about 
himself Indeed it later required some persuasion to 
convince him that it was worth including his own story at 
the beginning of our book. But Mitrokhin was passionate 
about his archive and anxious that as much of it as 
possible be used to expose the record of the KGB. 

Early in 1996 Mitrokhin and his family paid their first 
visit to Cambridge University, where I am Professor of 
Modem and Contemporary History. I met them outside 
the Porters’ Lodge at Corpus Christi College, of which 
I’m a Fellow, and we had lunch together in a private room 
overlooking the medieval Old Court (the oldest complete 
court in Cambridge). After lunch we went to the College 
Hall to look at what is believed to be the only surviving 
portrait of the College’s first spy and greatest writer - the 
Elizabethan dramatist Christopher Marlowe, who had 
been killed in a pub brawl in 1593 at the age of only 
twenty-nine, probably while working for the secret 
service of Queen Elizabeth I. Then we walked along the 
Backs through King’s and Clare colleges to visit Trinity 
and Trinity Hall, the colleges of the KGB’s best-known 
British recmits, the “Magnificent Five,” some of whose 
files Mitrokhin had noted.- Mitrokhin had long ago 

mastered the art of being inconspicuous. The friends and 
colleagues whom we met as we walked round Cambridge 
did not give him a second glance. 

In March 1996 the then Foreign Secretary, Malcolm 
Rifkind, gave approval in principle (later confirmed by 
his successor, Robin Cook) for me to write a book based 
on Mitrokhin’s extraordinary archive.- For the next three 
and a half years, because the archive was still classified, I 
was able to discuss none of it with colleagues in Corpus 
Christi College and the Cambridge History Faculty-or 
even to reveal the nature of the book that I was writing. In 
Britain at least, the secret of the Mitrokhin archive was 
remarkably well kept. Until The Mitrokhin Archive went 
to the publishers, who also successfully avoided leaks, the 
secret was known, outside the intelligence community, 
only to a small number of senior ministers and civil 
servants. Tony Blair was first briefed on Mitrokhin while 
Leader of the Opposition in January 1995. Three years 
later, as Prime Minister, he endorsed the publication 

The secret of the Mitrokhin archive was less rigorously 
preserved by some of Britain’s allies. But though there 
were a few partial leaks by foreign governments and 
intelligence agencies which had been given access to parts 
of the archive, none had much resonance in Britain. In 
December 1998, I received out of the blue a phone call 
from a German journalist who had discovered both the 
codename by which Mitrokhin was known in Germany 

and the contents of some fragments of Mitrokhin’s 
German material. He told me he knew I was completing a 
first volume based on the Mitrokhin archive and had 
already planned a second. For the next few months I 
expected the story to break in the British press. Somewhat 
to my surprise, it did not do so. 

On Saturday, September 11, 1999, after three and a half 
years of secrecy and silence. The Mitrokhin Archive 
suddenly became front-page news when serialization 
began in The Times. Between Friday night and Saturday 
morning I moved from a long period in which I had not 
talked at all about The Mitrokhin Archive in public to a 
month in which I seemed to talk about little else. 
Unsurprisingly, the revelations which captured media 
attention were human-interest stories about Soviet spies in 
Britain rather than the more important but less parochial 
disclosures about KGB operations against NATO as a 
whole and against democratic dissent within the Soviet 
Bloc. Hitherto the media stereotype of a major Soviet spy 
in Britain, modeled on Kim Philby and his friends, had 
been of a bright but subversive Cambridge graduate, 
preferably from a good public school and with an exotic 
sex life. In September 1999 the stereotype changed almost 
overnight with Mitrokhin’s unmasking of Melita 
Norwood, an 87-year-old great-grandmother from 
Bexleyheath memorably described by The Times as “The 
Spy Who Came In from the Co-op” (where, for 
ideological reasons, she does most of her shopping), as 

the longest-serving of all Soviet spies in Britain. 

A Times reporter was with Mrs. Norwood early on the 
morning of September 11 as she listened to John 
Humphrys on the Today program first recount some of the 
contents of her KGB file noted by Mitrokhin, then 
interview myself and Ann Widdecombe. “Oh dear!” she 
told the Times reporter. “This is all so different from my 
quiet little life. I thought I’d got away with it. But I’m not 
that surprised it’s finally come out.” Within a few hours, a 
media scrum had gathered expectantly outside Mrs. 
Norwood’s end-of- terrace house, interviewing friends and 
neighbours about how she drank tea from a Che Guevara 
mug, put “Stop Trident” posters in her window, sold 
home-made chutney in aid of Cuban support groups, and 
delivered more than thirty copies of the Morning Star 
every Saturday morning to veterans of the Bexleyheath 
Old Left. Mrs. Norwood behaved with extraordinary 
composure when she emerged later in the day to face the 
media for the first time in her life. The image of the 
greatgranny spy walking down her garden path between 
well-tended rose bushes to make a confession of sorts to a 
large crowd of reporters caught the imagination of 
millions of television viewers and newspaper-readers. 
“I’m 87 and unfortunately my memory is not what it 
was,” Mrs. Norwood began. “I did what I did not to make 
money but to help prevent the defeat of a new system 
which had, at great cost, given ordinary people food and 
fares which they could afford, given them education and a 

health service.” 

As well as being a media sensation, Mrs. Norwood’s 
guarded public confession was a remarkable historical 
document. What had captured her imagination before the 
Second World War, like that of most other Soviet agents 
of the time, was not the brutal reality of Stalin’s Russia 
but the idealistic myth- image of the world’s first worker- 
peasant state which had abolished unemployment and for 
the first time enabled working people to realize their full 
potential - the “new system” nostalgically recalled by 
Mrs. Norwood when she spoke to reporters. In the mid 
1930s that myth-image was so powerful that, for true 
believers who, unlike Melita Simis (as she then was), 
were able to go on pilgrimage to the Soviet Union, it 
survived even the contrary evidence of their own eyes. 
Malcolm Muggeridge, probably the best of the British 
journalists then in Moscow, later wrote of the British 
pilgrims he encountered: 

Their delight in all they saw and were told, and the 
expression they gave to that delight, constitute 
unquestionably one of the wonders of our age. There 
were earnest advocates of the humane killing of 
cattle who looked up at the massive headquarters of 
the OGPU [later the KGB] with tears of gratitude in 
their eyes, earnest advocates of proportional 
representation who eagerly assented when the 
necessity for a Dictatorship of the Proletariat was 

explained to them, earnest clergymen who reverently 
turned the pages of atheistic literature, earnest 
pacifists who watched delightedly tanks rattle across 
Red Square and bombing planes darken the sky, 
earnest town-planning specialists who stood outside 
overcrowded ramshackle tenements and muttered: 

“If only we had something like this in England!” The 
almost unbelievable credulity of these mostly 
university educated tourists astounded even Soviet 
officials used to handling foreign visitors... - 

When Melita Simis became a Soviet agent in 1937, the 
Soviet Union was in the midst of the Great Terror - the 
greatest peacetime persecution in modem European 
history.- Mrs. Norwood, however, still does not seem to 
grasp the depravity of the Stalinist regime into whose 
service she entered. “Old Joe [Stalin],” she acknowledges, 
“wasn’t a hundred percent, but then the people around 
him might have been making things awkward, as folks 
do.” At the end of her press statement, she was asked if 
she had any regrets about her career as a Soviet agent. 
“No,” she replied, then went back inside her house. In 
another interview she declared, “I would do everything 
again. - 

Another former Soviet spy identified in The Mitrokhin 
Archive who made front-page news in Britain was ex- 
Detective Sergeant John Symonds. Like Norwood, 
Symonds gave a number of interviews. Symonds 

confessed to being, as Mitrokhin’s notes reveal, probably 
the first British “Romeo spy” recruited by the KGB. He 
said that he had admitted as much almost twenty years 
earlier to MI5 and Scotland Yard but had been 
disbelieved. Though Mitrokhin’s notes give no statistics 
of the number of women seduced by Symonds during his 
career as a KGB illegal, Symonds claims that there were 
“hundreds” of them. Initially the KGB decided that his 
sexual technique was deficient and, to his delight, sent 
“two extremely beautiful girls” to act as his instructors. 
Symonds ’s recollection of his subsequent career as a 
Romeo spy is rather rosier than suggested by his KGB 

I just had a nice life. I’d say join the KGB, see the 
world - first class. I went all over the world on these 
jobs and I had a marvellous time. I stayed in the best 
hotels, I visited all the best beaches. I’ve had access 
to beautiful women, unlimited food, champagne, 
caviar, whatever you like, and I had a wonderful 
time. That was my KGB experience. 

“The only people I hurt,” Symonds now claims, “was 
the Metropolitan Police.”- Many of the women he 
seduced on KGB instructions would doubtless disagree. 

Media reaction to Mitrokhin’s revelations was as 
parochial in most other countries as it was in Britain. The 
public appeal of the Russian agents identified by 

Mitrokhin is curiously similar to that of Olympic medal- 
winners. In espionage as in athletics, most of the world’s 
media are interested first and foremost in the exploits of 
their own nationals. The human- interest stories which 
aroused most interest in the United States were probably 
the KGB “active measures” designed to discredit the 
long-serving Director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, and 
the great civil rights leader Martin Luther King. The KGB 
was among the first to spread stories that Hoover was a 
predatory homosexual. King, whom the KGB feared 
might avert the race war it hoped would be ignited by the 
long hot summers which began in 1965, was probably the 
only American to be the target of both KGB and FBI 
active measures. 

The topic in The Mitrokhin Archive (published in the 
USA as The Sword and the Shield) which attracted most 
attention in Congress concerned KGB preparations for 
sabotage operations against American targets during the 
Cold War. On October 26, 1999, I gave televised 
testimony on these preparations to a packed hearing of the 
House of Representatives Armed Services Committee. 
Mitrokhin’ s material identifies the approximate locations 
of a number of the secret sites in the United States 
selected for KGB arms and radio caches for use in 
sabotage operations. On present evidence, it is impossible 
to estimate the number of these caches which were put in 
place. However, the former KGB general Oleg Kalugin, 
who was stationed in New York and Washington during 

the 1960s and early 1970s, has confirmed the existence of 
some KGB arms caches in the United States.- As in 
Europe, some caches were probably booby-trapped and 
may now be in a dangerous condition. For reasons of 
public safety. The Mitrokhin Archive gave no clues to the 
location of any of the American sites selected for KGB 
arms caches. ABC TV News, however, revealed that one 
of the sites is located in the region of Brainerd, 
Minnesota.— Later press reports, citing “congressional 
sources,” claimed that the FBI had carried out a search of 
the Brainerd area.— 

In western Europe, The Mitrokhin Archive generated 
more front-page stories in Italy than it did even in Britain 
- though almost all the stories, unsurprisingly, were on 
Italian topics. In October 1999 an Italian parliamentary 
committee released 645 pages of reports (codenamed 
IMPEDIAN) on the Italians mentioned in the Mitrokhin 
archive which had been supplied several years earlier by 
SIS to Italian intelligence. Most KGB contacts were 
identified in the reports by name as well as codename. 
The Italian Foreign Ministry was said to be investigating 
the cases of thirty employees referred to in Mitrokhin ’s 
notes. Much of the furore aroused by The Mitrokhin 
Archive in Italy, however, consisted of a revival of Cold 
War points-scoring which produced more political heat 
than historical light. Opponents of the government headed 
by the former Communist Massimo D’Alema seized on 

the references to Armando Cossutta, leader of the 
Communist PDCI which was represented in D’Alema’s 
coalition government. The Left retaliated by pointing to 
the identification in an IMPEDIAN report of a senator of 
the right-wing Forza Italia. The debate became further 
confused by conspiracy theorists on both right and left. A 
cartoon in La Repubblica, which D’Alema denounced as 
libellous, showed him blanking out a series of 
(presumably left-wing) names from the IMPEDIAN 
reports before their release. L 'Unitd, by contrast, claimed 
that left-wing ministers were increasingly convinced that 
the reports were the result of a plot by MI5 (which it 
apparently confused with SIS): “What has arrived is not a 
dossier from the KGB but one about the KGB constructed 
by British counter-espionage agents based on the 
confession of an ex-agent, if there is one, and ‘Mitrokhin’ 
is just a codename for an MI5 operation.”— 

The political controversy provoked in Britain by the 
publication of The Mitrokhin Archive centred chiefly on 
the behaviour of ministers and the intelligence 
community. Why, it was asked, had Melita Norwood not 
been prosecuted when her treachery had been known at 
least since Mitrokhin’s defection in 1992? And why had 
ministers not been better briefed about her and other 
traitors identified in the Mitrokhin archive by the 
intelligence and security agencies? It emerged, to my 
surprise, that I had known about the Norwood case for 
considerably longer than either the Home Secretary or the 

Prime Minister. Jack Straw was informed in December 
1998 that Mitrokhin’s information might lead to the 
prosecution of “an 86-year-old woman who spied for the 
KGB forty years ago,” but was not told her identity until 
some months later. Tony Blair was not briefed about Mrs. 
Norwood until shortly before her name appeared on the 
front page of The Times.— 

The failure to prosecute Mrs. Norwood combined with 
the delays in briefing ministers aroused deep suspicion in 
some of the media. The Express denounced “an appalling 
culture of cover-ups and incompetence in Britain’s secret 
services.” The Guardian suspected an MI5 plot: 

We need to know whether Melita Norwood made 
a deal with the security services. Remember Blunt.— 
Was the decision not to prosecute her based on 
compassion, or a desire to cover up security service 

Less than a decade earlier there would have been no 
mechanism for investigating these charges capable of 
inspiring public and parliamentary confidence. Until 1992 
successive British governments refused even to admit 
SIS’s existence on the extraordinary, though traditional, 
grounds that such an admission would put national 
security at risk. Had SIS still been officially taboo seven 
years later, no official inquiry could possibly have 
produced a credible public report on the handling of the 

Mitrokhin archive. In 1999, however, there was an 
obvious body to conduct an inquiry: the Intelligence and 
Security Committee (ISC), established under the 
Intelligence Services Act of 1994 to examine “the 
expenditure, administration and policy” of the intelligence 
and security agencies. 

Since it began work in 1994, the ISC has been a largely 
unsung success story.— Though not technically a 
parliamentary committee, since it reports to Parliament 
only through the Prime Minister, eight of its nine 
members are MPs. (The ninth is a member of the House 
of Lords.) Under the chairmanship of the former 
Conservative Defense Secretary, Tom King, its 
membership spans the political spectrum. Its founder 
members included Dale Campbell-Savours, previously a 
leading Labour critic of the intelligence community, who 
still serves on it. Largely because its members have failed 
either to divide on party lines and fall out among 
themselves or to find evidence of major intelligence 
abuses, the ISC has attracted relatively little media 
attention. Its generally positive reports on the 
performance of the intelligence community, however, 
have inevitably been dismissed by some conspiracy 
theorists as evidence of a cover-up. 

On Monday, September 13, 1999, only two days after 
The Times had begun serialization of The Mitrokhin 
Archive, Jack Straw announced in a statement to the 
Commons that the ISC had been asked to conduct an 

inquiry into “the policies and procedures adopted within 
the Security and Intelligence Agencies for the handling of 
the information supplied by Mr Mitrokhin.” Over the next 
nine months the ISC heard evidence from Jack Straw, 
Robin Cook and four former Conservative ministers, from 
the heads and other senior officers of MI5 and SIS, from 
the previous head of MI5, and from the Cabinet Secretary, 
Permanent Under Secretaries at the Home and Foreign 
Offices and other officials. Among the final witnesses 
were Mitrokhin and myself, who gave evidence to the ISC 
in the Cabinet Office at 70 Whitehall one after the other 
on the morning of March 8, 2000. While writing The 
Mitrokhin Archive, I had wrongly assumed that the 
Committee had been informed about the project. Some of 
the confusion which followed publication might well have 
been avoided if the ISC had been properly briefed well 

The ISC report in June 2000 identified a series of 
administrative errors which, as usual in Whitehall, had 
more to do with cock-up than with conspiracy. The first 
“serious failure” identified by the ISC was the failure of 
the Security Service to refer the case of Mrs. Norwood to 
the Law Officers in 1993: 

This failure... resulted in the decision whether or 
not to prosecute Mrs. Norwood effectively being 
taken by the Security Service. The Committee is 
concerned that the Service used public interest 

reasons to justify taking no further action against 
Mrs. Norwood, when this was for the Law Officers 
to decide. We also believe that the failure of the 
Security Service to interview Mrs. Norwood at this 
time prevented her possible prosecution. 

For the next five years, owing to “a further serious 
failure by the Security Service,” the Norwood case 
“slipped out of sight.”— MI5 may not deserve a great deal 
of sympathy for its oversight, but it does deserve some. 
The first priority of any security service are actual, 
followed by potential, threats. Among the mass of 
material provided by Mitrokhin in 1992, the case of the 
eighty-year-old Mrs. Norwood, who had last been in 
contact with the KGB over a decade earlier and no longer 
posed any conceivable danger to national security, must 
have seemed a very low priority - particularly given the 
strain on MI5’s resources caused by cutbacks at the end of 
the Cold War and the threat from Irish terrorist groups. 

Arguably, however, MI5 underestimated Mrs. 
Norwood’s past importance. In evidence to the ISC, the 
Security Service concluded that her “value as an atom spy 
to the scientists who constructed the Soviet bomb must 
have been, at most, marginal.”— That was not the view of 
the NKGB (as the KGB was then known) in the final 
months of the Second World War. In March 1945 it 
described the atomic intelligence she had provided as “of 
great interest and a valuable contribution to the 

development of work in this field.”— Though Mrs. 
Norwood was not, of course, an atom spy in the same 
class as Ted Hall and Klaus Fuchs, both of whom 
provided intelligence from inside the main nuclear 
laboratory at Los Alamos, the NKGB and the Soviet 
scientists with whom it was in close touch plainly 
regarded her intelligence as somewhat better than 
“marginal.” The intelligence she was able to provide on 
uranium fuel cladding and post-irradiation corrosion 
resistance was probably applicable to weapons 
development as well as to the construction of nuclear 
reactors.— Until the final months of the War, the NKGB 
rated the atomic intelligence obtained in Britain almost as 
highly as that from the United States.— 

As Jack Straw told the Commons when announcing the 
ISC inquiry, “There is no reason to doubt... that the KGB 
regarded Mrs. Norwood as an important spy.” Nor is there 
reason to doubt that she was both the KGB’s longest- 
serving British agent and its most important female 
British spy. From early in her career, the KGB had high 
expectations of her. It maintained contact with her in 
1938-39 at a time when the shortage of foreign 
intelligence officers, many of whom were executed during 
the Terror, led it to lose touch with many other agents - 
including some of the Magnificent Five. Since the 
publication of The Mitrokhin Archive, Viktor Oshchenko, 
a former senior officer in the KGB scientific and 

technological intelligence (S&T) directorate, has kindly 
given me his recollections of the Norwood case. While 
stationed at the London residency in 1975, Oshchenko 
recruited Michael Smith, the KGB’s most important 
British S&T agent during the later Cold War.— He 
remembers Mrs. Norwood’s career as a Soviet agent as “a 
legendary case in the annals of the KGB - an important, 
determined and very valuable agent,” and was deeply 
impressed both by her ideological commitment and by her 
remarkable access to her boss’s papers. Among the 
intelligence which Oshchenko believes Mrs. Norwood 
supplied were “valuable papers relating to the materials 
involved in missile production.”— Details of the use made 
of Mrs. Norwood’s intelligence within the Soviet Union, 
however, remain scarce. Mitrokhin’s notes from her file, 
though giving precise information on Mrs. Norwood’s 
controllers and other operational matters, give little 
indication of the doubtless complex intelligence she 
supplied in the course of her long career as a Soviet agent. 
It is highly unlikely that the SVR will reveal any details 
of this intelligence until after Mrs. Norwood’s death. 

As well as criticizing MI5 for allowing the Norwood 
case to “slip out of sight,” the ISC also considered it “a 
serious failure of the Security Service not to refer Mr. 
Symonds’ case to the Law Officers in mid- 1993.” This 
too was plainly the result of cock-up rather than 
conspiracy - probably somewhere in MI5’s middle 
management. Even the Director-General of the Security 

Service from 1992 to 1996, Stella Rimington, was not 
informed by her staff of either the Norwood or the 
Symonds case, and was thus unable to brief Michael 
Howard, Home Secretary in the Major government, and 
his Permanent Under Secretary. Further confusion arose 
as a result of the fact that the “interdepartmental working 
group” in Whitehall responsible for monitoring the 
progress of the publication project was itself “unaware of 
the significance of [Mitrokhin’s] UK material until late 
1998.”— My own direct contact with the working group 
was limited to an enjoyable lunch with its Chairman 
shortly before Christmas 1998. I was asked, when giving 
evidence to the ISC, whether, while writing The 
Mitrokhin Archive, I would have liked greater contact 
with the group. I would indeed. 

The ISC’s Mitrokhin inquiry found much to praise as 
well as criticize: 

Carrying the initial contact with Mr. Mitrokhin 
right through to his and his family’s successful 
exfiltration together with all his material represents a 
major achievement by SIS. In addition the 
management of the material and its dissemination, as 
appropriate, to foreign liaison [intelligence] services 
was well handled. The Committee wish to pay 
tribute to this outstanding piece of intelligence 

I was heartened by the ISC’s endorsement of the 1996 
decision to authorize me to write The Mitrokhin Archive 
in collaboration with Mitrokhin, as well as by the 
Committee’s conclusion (which I hope it is not too 
immodest to quote) that the book is “of tremendous value, 
as it gives a real insight into the KGB’s work and the 
persecution of the dissidents.”— The ISC’s greatest praise 
was, quite rightly, reserved for Vasili Mitrokhin: 

The Committee believes that he is a man of 
remarkable commitment and courage, who risked 
imprisonment or death in his determination that the 
truth should be told about the real nature of the KGB 
and their activities, which he believed were betraying 
the interests of his own country and people. He 
succeeded in this, and we wish to record formally 
our admiration for his achievement. 

The ISC report regrets that “poor media handling 
[presumably by Whitehall] of the publication of The 
Mitrokhin Archive, which allowed the emphasis to fall on 
the UK spies, detracted from the brave work of Mr. 
Mitrokhin and the importance of the revelations about the 
KGB’s work he wanted to expose.”— In the initial media 
coverage, there was little mention of the fact that vastly 
more of the book is devoted to the KGB’s war against the 
dissidents and its attempts to stifle dissent throughout the 
Soviet Bloc than to the careers of Melita Norwood and 

John Symonds. 

The chief problem in understanding both Mitrokhin and 
his archive, which was evident in much of the media 
coverage, is that neither is truly comprehensible in 
Western terms. The very notion of the hero, familiar to all 
other cultures and all previous Western generations, 
arouses greater scepticism in the early twenty- first century 
West than at any other time or place in recorded history. 
For those whose imaginations have been corroded by the 
cynicism of the age, the idea that Mitrokhin was willing 
to risk his life for twenty years for a cause in which he 
passionately believed is almost too difficult to grasp. 
Almost equally hard to comprehend is Mitrokhin’ s 
willingness to devote himself throughout that period to 
compiling and preserving a secret archive which he knew 
might never see the light of day. For any Western author 
it is almost impossible to understand how a writer could 
devote all his or her energy and creative talent for many 
years to secret writing which might never be publicly 
revealed. Yet, as Chapter 1 seeks to show, some of the 
greatest Russian writers of the Soviet era did precisely 
that.— No biography of any Western writer contains any 
death-bed scene comparable to the description by the 
widow of Mikhail Bulgakov of how she helped him out of 
bed for the last time so that he could satisfy himself 
before he died that his great, unpublished masterpiece. 
The Master and Margarita, arguably the greatest novel of 
the twentieth century, was still in its hiding place. The 

Master and Margarita survived to be published a quarter 
of a century later. It is a sobering thought, however, that 
for every forbidden masterpiece of the Soviet era which 
survives, there must be a larger number which have failed 
to survive or which, even now, are mouldering in their 
forgotten hiding places - as the Mitrokhin archive might 
well have done if Mitrokhin and SIS had not succeeded in 
removing it to Britain. 

The Mitrokhin archive is no more comprehensible in 
purely Western terms than Mitrokhin himself. The 
commonest error in interpreting the KGB is to suppose 
that it was roughly equivalent to its main Western rivals. 
There were, of course, similarities in the operational 
techniques employed by intelligence agencies in East and 
West, as well as in the importance which each side 
attached to the other as an intelligence target. The 
fundamental difference between the Soviet one-party state 
and the Western democracies, however, was reflected in 
fundamental differences between their intelligence 

The differences were greatest in the Stalinist era. At the 
outbreak of the Second World War, Stalin regarded the 
NKVD’s pursuit in Mexico of the great, though harmless, 
heretic, Leon Trotsky, as a higher priority than collecting 
intelligence on Adolf Hitler. In the middle of the War, the 
paranoid strain which regularly distorted Soviet 
intelligence assessment persuaded Soviet intelligence 
chiefs - and no doubt Stalin himself - that the 

Magnificent Five, probably its ablest group of foreign 
agents, were part of a gigantic British intelligence 
deception. During his final years Stalin was sometimes 
obsessed with the hunting down of often imaginary 
Titoists and Zionists. His chief foreign policy objective at 
the end of his life may well have been the plan for an 
MGB (later KGB) illegal to assassinate Marshal Tito, 
who had succeeded Trotsky as the leading heretic of the 
Soviet Bloc. Stalin once called Lavrenti Beria, the most 
powerful of his intelligence chiefs, “my Himmler.” But 
there was no Western intelligence chief with whom Beria 
- or Himmler, the head of the SS - could be credibly 

Even after Stalin’s death and Beria’ s execution in 1953, 
there remained basic differences between intelligence 
priorities in East and West. Perhaps the simplest way of 
judging whether any intelligence report is of critical 
importance is to ask the question: If it arrives in the 
middle of the night would you wake the relevant 
government minister? The answer to that question in 
Moscow was often quite different from that in Western 
capitals. On October 27, 1978, for example, the KGB 
resident in Oslo, Leonid Makarov, rang Mikhail Suslov, 
the member of the Politburo chiefly responsible for 
ideological purity, in the early hours. Why? Not to tell 
him that some great international crisis was about to break 
but to report that the Russian dissident Yuri Orlov had 
failed to win the Nobel Peace Prize. The Oslo residency 

was warmly congratulated for its supposed “operational 
effectiveness” in achieving this entirely predictable 
result.— It is simply not possible to imagine any Western 
minister being woken for any comparable reason. 

The KGB’s domestic obsession with the detection and 
suppression of “ideological subversion” spilled over into 
its foreign operations. It sought to impress the Party 
leadership by its zeal in discrediting dissidents abroad as 
well as at home. In the summer of 1978 the KGB First 
Chief (Foreign Intelligence) and Fifth (Ideological 
Subversion) Directorates jointly arranged the secret 
screening in Moscow to an audience of KGB and Party 
notables of the commencement address by the dissident 
writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn at Harvard University. The 
purpose of this extraordinary (by Western standards) 
evening was to seek to demonstrate that, thanks to the 
efforts of the KGB, Solzhenitsyn was now a largely 
discredited figure in the United States.— The KGB’s 
mission to discredit dissidents who had emigrated to the 
West extended even to dissident ballet dancers, musicians 
and chess players. 

For Western media used to interpreting the secret Cold 
War in terms of spy versus spy, Mitrokhin’s material on 
the KGB’s war against ideological subversion, unlike the 
revelations about individual spies, had little interest. 
There was, predictably, greater interest in this material in 
the countries of the former Soviet Bloc - reflected, for 
example, in the number of translations of The Mitrokhin 

Archive into Eastern European languages. The priority 
given by the KGB to maintaining the ideological 
orthodoxy of the Soviet Bloc was reflected by the fact that 
it deployed more of its elite group of illegals to 
Czechoslovakia during the Prague Spring of 1968 than, so 
far as is known, were ever used in any operation against a 
Western target. 

The Cold War chapters of The Mitrokhin Archive give 
equal weight to KGB operations against the United States 
and to those against ideological subversion. Mitrokhin 
smuggled out of the KGB foreign intelligence 
headquarters important material on operations against 
some of the leaders of the struggle for democracy within 
the Soviet Bloc whose extraordinary moral courage 
eventually prevailed over the immense coercive force of 
the KGB and its allies. Two examples stand out. The first 
is the great Russian dissident and nuclear scientist Andrei 
Sakharov, dubbed “Public Enemy Number One” by Yuri 
Andropov (successively KGB Chairman and Soviet 
leader), who survived persecution and internal exile by 
the KGB to become, in Gorbachev’s words, 
“unquestionably the most outstanding personality” at the 
1989 Congress of People’s Soviets. One of the most 
striking visual images of the crumbling of the Soviet 
system, which deserves to be as well known as the 
destruction of the Berlin Wall, is of Gorbachev and other 
members of the Politburo standing bareheaded by 
Sakharov’s open coffin after his sudden death in 

December 1989. 

The second outstanding case is that of Cardinal Karol 
Wojtyla, Archbishop of Krakow, whom the KGB seems 
to have identified in the early 1970s as its most dangerous 
opponent in the Soviet Bloc. Wojtyla, however, was 
protected by his moral authority and eminence. The KGB, 
like the Polish SB, shrank from the immense public 
outcry which his arrest would provoke. Seen in hindsight, 
Wojtyla’ s election in 1978 as Pope John Paul II marked 
the beginning of the end of the Soviet Bloc. Though the 
Polish problem was, with difficulty, contained for the next 
decade, it could not be resolved. 

The organization which has studied The Mitrokhin 
Archive with the closest attention since its publication is 
the SVR, which is deeply concerned by its contents. No 
intelligence agency can expect either to recruit new agents 
or to maintain the loyalty of its existing agents unless it 
can convince them that it can keep their secrets 
indefinitely. The SVR is now ill-placed to do so. Thanks 
to Mitrokhin, no one who spied for the Soviet Union at 
any period between the October Revolution and the eve of 
the Gorbachev era can now be confident that his or her 
secrets are still secure. Mitrokhin’ s material also contains 
information on Cold War operations conducted by the 
current head of the SVR, Vyacheslav Trubnikov, and 
other former senior KGB officers. Volume Two will 
contain a chapter on KGB activities in India, where 
Trubnikov made his reputation. If the past secrets of the 

SVR leadership have proved insecure, SVR agents may 
well conclude that theirs are also. 

From the moment the Mitrokhin archive arrived in 
Britain, SIS realized that its contents were “of exceptional 
counter-intelligence significance, not only illuminating 
past KGB activity against Western countries but also 
promising to nullify many of Russia’s current assets.” The 
CIA similarly found the archive “the biggest Cl [counter- 
intelligence] bonanza of the post-war period.” The FBI 
agreed. As the ISC report reveals, other Western 
intelligence agencies have also been “extremely grateful” 
for the numerous Cl leads provided by the Mitrokhin 

Some insight into the turmoil inside the SVR which 
must have been provoked by the publication of The 
Mitrokhin Archive is provided by the file (noted by 
Mitrokhin) on the book on the KGB published by the 
American journalist John Barron a quarter of a century 
ago. KGB headquarters ordered no fewer than 370 reports 
in an attempt to assess the damage to its interests caused 
by various sections of Barron’s book.— Mitrokhin’ s 
revelations have doubtless led to even more damage 
assessments than Barron’s. There is already unattributable 
evidence of efforts by the SVR to ensure that no archivist 
ever again has the unrestricted access to files enjoyed by 

Like the KGB First Chief Directorate, the SVR 
contains an “active measures” section. Department MS, 

specializing in disinformation, which was inevitably 
instructed to try to undermine the credibility of The 
Mitrokhin Archive?^ On two occasions since the 
publication of the book, it has sent apparent Russian 
defectors to Western intelligence agencies, each with the 
same story about The Mitrokhin Archive. The SVR, 
claimed the “defectors,” had decided on a massive clear- 
out of redundant and retired agents which it had inherited 
from the KGB, and had therefore chosen a retired KGB 
archivist - Vasili Mitrokhin - to transmit their names to 
the West.— This poorly conceived active measure proved 
counter-productive for two reasons. First, a series of 
Western intelligence agencies had already been able to 
establish that Mitrokhin ’s material was far too valuable to 
them for the SVR to have willingly made it available. 
Secondly, both the bogus “defectors” were quickly and 
conclusively exposed as SVR plants. The whole episode 
has merely served to underline the SVR’s deep anxiety at 
the damage to its agent operations caused by Mitrokhin’ s 
material. Its mood will not have been lightened by the 
knowledge that there are many more revelations still to 
come in Volume Two. Mitrokhin’ s ambition - unchanged 
for almost thirty years - remains to publish as much as 
possible of the top-secret material which he risked his life 
to collect. 


1 By the time I gained access to the archive, the greater 
part had been translated and carefully checked by SIS 
officers working in close collaboration with Mitrokhin. 
The Security Service and US intelligence officers also 
assisted in the translation. The translated archive was 
made available to me in an SIS office both in hard copy 
and on a computer database with sophisticated indexing 
and search software. While I was writing the book, 
Mitrokhin worked three days a week with an SIS officer 
completing the translation and checking process. 

2 On the Magnificent Five, see below. Chapter 4. 

3 Intelligence and Security Committee, The Mitrokhin 
Inquiry Report, Cm 4764, June 13, 2000, pp. 44-5, 47. 

The authorization doubtless had something to do with the 
fact that I had earlier written a KGB history and edited 
two volumes of KGB documents (listed in the 
Bibliography) with Oleg Gordlevsky, a former KGB 
colonel who for eleven years had been one of the most 
important SIS agents of the Cold War. 

4 Some details of the briefing of senior ministers and civil 
servants are given in Intelligence and Security 

Committee, The Mitrokhin Inquiry Report, Annex E. 

5 Hollander, Political Pilgrims, p. 102. 

6 See below. Chapter 5. 

7 David Rose, “‘I would do everything again,’ says the 
agent from suburbia,” Sunday Telegraph, September 12, 
1999. While interviewing Mrs. Norwood on August 10 
for a BBC2 documentary based on The Mitrokhin 
Archive, Rose had obtained the first confession that she 
had been a Soviet spy. 

8 John Symonds (interviewed by David Rose), “I told you 
I was a spy,” Guardian (G2), September 14, 1999. Cf. 
below, pp. 559-63. 

9 Interview with Oleg Kalugin on ABC Nightline, 
September 9, 1999. 

10 ABC News report by John McWethy, September 9, 

11 New York Post, 1 November 1999. Philadelphia Daily 
News, 8 November 1999. 

12 For a selection of Italian newspaper articles, see: 
Dossier Stampa: L ’Affare Mitrokhin (Rome: Camera dei 
Deputati, Ufficia Stampa, October 22, 1999). Some of the 
IMPED IAN reports are published in the Italian edition of 
The Mitrokhin Archive: L ’Archivio Mitrokhin (Milan: 
Rizzoli, 1999), Appendix F. 

13 Intelligence and Security Committee, The Mitrokhin 
Inquiry Report, pp. 48, 52-5. 

14 In 1963, after a long investigation had failed to find 
enough usable evidence to secure a conviction, the Soviet 

spy Sir Anthony Blunt had been offered immunity from 
prosecution in return for a full confession (not a bargain 
he seems to have completely honoured). It was later 
alleged, on no adequate evidence, that the real reason for 
the decision not to prosecute had been an establishment or 
MI5 coverup. 

15 In stating this conclusion, I should perhaps declare an 
interest. Since the late 1970s I had argued the case for the 
establishment of a parliamentary intelligence committee 
with roughly the role of the present Intelligence and 
Security Committee. (See, for example, the introduction 
to Andrew and Dilks [eds.]. Missing Dimension, and the 
conclusion to Andrew, Secret Service.) The proposal was 
initially given a frosty reception in Whitehall. 

16 Intelligence and Security Committee, The Mitrokhin 
Inquiry Report,^. 12. 

17 Intelligence and Security Committee, The Mitrokhin 
Inquiry Report, p. 69. 

18 See below, p. 168. It is difficult to see how Mrs. 
Norwood could have provided atomic intelligence of such 
“great value” in March 1945 if, as claimed by Phillip 
Knightley, she did not return to work in the British Non- 
Ferrous Metals Research Association (BN-FMRA) after 
extended maternity leave until 1946 (Knightley, 
“Norwood: the spy who never was,” New Statesman, 
December 13, 1999). MI5 evidence to the ISC confirms 
that in 1945 Mrs. Norwood was secretary to the Chairman 
of the BN-FMRA (Intelligence and Security Committee, 

The Mitrokhin Inquiry Report, p. 67). 

19 This is the view of a government scientist who prefers 
not to be identified. Precise details of the atomic 
intelligence provided by Mrs. Norwood are unavailable. 
Not until they have been carefully analyzed and compared 
with the other atomic intelligence obtained by Soviet 
intelligence will it be possible to form a final judgement 
on the importance of her role as an atom spy. Atomic 
intelligence provided by Mrs. Norwood after 1945 was 
irrelevant to the construction of the Soviet bomb which, 
thanks chiefly to Hall and Fuchs, was an exact replica of 
the American - not the British - bomb. It remained, 
however, of some significance. Probably the most 
important secret in post-war Britain - a secret so sensitive 
that Prime Minister Clement Attlee withheld it from most 
of his cabinet - concerned the construction of the British 
atomic bomb. Mrs. Norwood’s intelligence must have 
provided some insight into the highly classified progress 
of British atomic scientists. (See below, pp. 518-19.) 

20 According to a file noted by Mitrokhin (vol. 7, ch. 2, 
item 19), up to November 1944 the NKGB obtained 1,167 
documents on “nuclear secrets” from the USA and UK. 

Of these 88 from the USA and 79 from the UK were rated 
as “very valuable.” Mitrokhin’ s notes contain no similar 
statistics for the period after November 1944. Further 
atomic intelligence was received from the GRU. 

21 See below, pp. 550-53, 567-8. 

22 In 1992, while head of Line X (S&T) at the Paris 

residency, Oshchenko defected to Britain, where he now 

23 Intelligence and Security Committee, The Mitrokhin 
Inquiry Report, pp. 13, 20, 26. 

24 Intelligence and Security Committee, The Mitrokhin 
Inquiry Report, p. 4. 

25 Intelligence and Security Committee, The Mitrokhin 
Inquiry Report, pp. 4, 16. The government’s response 
welcomed the ISC’s endorsement. 

26 Intelligence and Security Committee, The Mitrokhin 
Inquiry Report, p. 4. 

27 See below, pp. 13-14. 

28 See below, pp. 429-30. 

29 See below, pp. 418-19. 

30 Intelligence and Security Committee, The Mitrokhin 
Inquiry Report, p. 4. 

31 See below, p. 25. 

32 The KGB had similarly sought to discredit Andrew 
and Gordievsky, KGB: The Inside Story, after its 
publication in 1990, by claiming that its best-publicized 
revelation - the identification of John Cairncross as the 
“Fifth Man” and the first agent to provide warning of 
plans to build the atomic bomb - was wrong. The SVR 
now acknowledges that the identification was correct on 
both counts. 

33 In devising this ill-advised active measure. Department 
MS may have been encouraged by the fact that two 
somewhat similar suggestions had surfaced independently 

in the Western media. A writer in Le Monde had 
suggested that “...The Mitrokhin archive operation was 
organized in Moscow either by an undisciplined Stalinist 
faction in the KGB or by the provisional leadership of the 
[intelligence] agencies between November 1991 and 
February 1992.” (“Voyages en memoire sovietique,” Le 
Monde, November 5, 1999.) In her review of The 
Mitrokhin Archive in The Times Literary Supplement 
(November 26, 1999), Dr. Amy Knight also could not 
“help but wonder whether [Mitrokhin] had a little help 
from his former employers in making known the KGB’s 
archival secrets.” “This,” she added, “is by no means a 
farfetched suggestion.” Dr. Knight’s earlier review of my 
book with Oleg Gordlevsky, KGB: The Inside Story, had 
included the eccentric suggestion that I might not have 
written the lengthy introduction {TLS, December 7, 1990). 
My own review of Dr. Knight’s book. Spies Without 
Cloaks, makes clear my respect for her research on 
Russian intelligence. There is, however, occasionally a 
mild element of conspiracy theory in her work - as 
evidenced, for example, by her suggestion in Spies 
Without Cloaks that Gorbachev was complicit in the 
attempted coup against him in August 1991. 



This book is based on unprecedented and unrestricted 
access to one of the world’s most secret and closely 
guarded archives — that of the foreign intelligence arm of 
the KGB, the First Chief Directorate (FCD). Hitherto the 
present Russian foreign intelligence service, the SVR 
(Sluzhba Vneshnei Razvedki), has been supremely 
confident that a book such as this could not be written. 
When the German magazine Focus reported in December 
1996 that a former KGB officer had defected to Britain 
with “the names of hundreds of Russian spies,” Tatyana 
Samolis, spokeswoman for the SVR, instantly ridiculed 
the whole story as “absolute nonsense.” “Hundreds of 
people! That just doesn’t happen!” she declared. “Any 
defector could get the name of one, two, perhaps three 
agents — but not hundreds!”^ 

The facts, however, are far more sensational even than 
the story dismissed as impossible by the SVR. The KGB 
defector had brought with him to Britain details not of a 
few hundred but of thousands of Soviet agents and 
intelligence officers in all parts of the globe, some of them 

“illegals” living under deep cover abroad, disguised as 
foreign citizens. No one who spied for the Soviet Union at 
any period between the October Revolution and the eve of 
the Gorbachev era can now be confident that his or her 
secrets are still secure. When the British Secret 
Intelligence Service (SIS) exfiltrated the defector and his 
family from Russia in 1992, it also brought out six cases 
containing the copious notes he had taken almost daily for 
twelve years, before his retirement in 1984, on top secret 
KGB files going as far back as 1918. The contents of the 
cases have since been described by the American FBI as 
“the most complete and extensive intelligence ever 
received from any source.” 

The KGB officer who assembled this extraordinary 
archive, Vasili Nikitich Mitrokhin, is now a British 
citizen. Bom in central Russia in 1922, he began his 
career as a Soviet foreign intelligence officer in 1948, at a 
time when the foreign intelligence arms of the MGB (the 
future KGB) and the GRU (Soviet military intelligence) 
were temporarily combined in the Committee of 
Information.^ By the time Mitrokhin was sent on his first 
foreign posting in 1952,^ the Committee had disintegrated 
and the MGB had resumed its traditional rivalry with the 
GRU. His first five years in intelligence were spent in the 
paranoid atmosphere generated by the final phase of 
Stalin’s dictatorship, when the intelligence agencies were 
ordered to conduct witch-hunts throughout the Soviet 
Bloc against mostly imaginary Titoist and Zionist 


In January 1953 the MGB was officially accused of 
“lack of vigilance” in hunting down the conspirators. The 
Soviet news agency Tass made the sensational 
announcement that for the past few years world Zionism 
and Western intelligence agencies had been conspiring 
with “a terrorist group” of Jewish doctors “to wipe out the 
leadership of the Soviet Union.” During the final two 
months of Stalin’s rule, the MGB struggled to 
demonstrate its heightened vigilance by pursuing the 
perpetrators of this non-existent plot. Its anti-Zionist 
campaign was, in reality, little more than a thinly 
disguised anti-Semitic pogrom. Shortly before Stalin’s 
sudden death in March 1953, Mitrokhin was ordered to 
investigate the alleged Zionist connections of the Pravda 
correspondent in Paris, Yuri Zhukov, who had come 
under suspicion because of his wife’s Jewish origins. 
Mitrokhin had the impression that Stalin’s brutal security 
supremo, Lavrenti Pavlovich Beria, was planning to 
implicate Zhukov in the supposed Jewish doctors’ plot. A 
few weeks after Stalin’s funeral, however, Beria suddenly 
announced that the plot had never existed, and exonerated 
the alleged conspirators. 

By the summer of 1953 most of Beria’ s colleagues in 
the Presidium were united in their fear of another 
conspiracy — that he might be planning a coup d'etat to 
step into Stalin’s shoes. While visiting a foreign capital in 
July, Mitrokhin received a top secret telegram with 

instructions to decipher it himself, and was astonished to 
discover that Beria had been charged with “criminal anti- 
Party and anti-state activities.” Only later did Mitrokhin 
learn that Beria had been arrested at a special meeting of 
the Presidium on June 26 after a plot organized by his 
chief rival, Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev. From his 
prison cell, Beria wrote begging letters to his former 
colleagues, pleading pathetically for them to spare his life 
and “find the smallest job for me”: 

You will see that in two or three years I’ll have 
straightened out fine and will still be useful to you... 

I ask the comrades to forgive me for writing 
somewhat disjointedly and badly because of my 
condition, and also because of the poor lighting and 
not having my pince-nez. 

No longer in awe of him, the comrades simply mocked 
his loss of nerve. 

On December 24 it was announced that Beria had been 
executed after trial by the Supreme Court. Since neither 
his responsibility for mass murder in the Stalin era nor his 
own record as a serial rapist of under-age girls could be 
publicly mentioned for fear of bringing the Communist 
regime into disrepute, he was declared guilty instead of a 
surreal plot “to revive capitalism and to restore the rule of 
the bourgeoisie” in association with British and other 
Western intelligence services. Beria thus became. 

following Yagoda and Yezhov in the 1930s, the third 
Soviet security chief to be shot for crimes which included 
serving as an (imaginary) British secret agent. In true 
Stalinist tradition, subscribers to the Great Soviet 
Encyclopedia were advised to use “a small knife or razor 
blade” to remove the entry on Beria, and then to insert a 
replacement article on the Bering Sea.^ 

The first official repudiation of Stalinism was 
Khrushchev’s now-celebrated secret speech to a closed 
session of the Twentieth Congress of the Communist 
Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in February 1956. 
Stalin’s “cult of personality,” Khrushchev declared, had 
been responsible for “a whole series of exceedingly 
serious and grave perversions of Party principles, of Party 
democracy, of revolutionary legality.” The speech was 
reported to the KGB Party organization in a secret letter 
from the Central Committee. The section to which 
Mitrokhin belonged took two days to debate its contents. 
He still vividly recalls the conclusion of the section’s 
chairman, Vladimir Vasilyevich Zhenikhov (later KGB 
resident in Finland): “Stalin was a bandit!” Some Party 
members were too shocked — or cautious — to say 
anything. Others agreed with Zhenikhov. None dared ask 
the question which Mitrokhin was convinced was in all 
their minds: “Where was Khrushchev while all these 
crimes were taking place?” 

In the aftermath of the secret speech Mitrokhin became 
too outspoken for his own good. Though his criticisms of 

the way the KGB had been run were mild by Western 
standards, late in 1956 Mitrokhin was moved from 
operations to the FCD archives, where his main job was 
answering queries from other departments and provincial 
KGBs.^ Mitrokhin discovered that Beria’s personal 
archive had been destroyed on Khrushchev’s orders so as 
to leave no trace of the compromising material he had 
collected on his former colleagues. Ivan Aleksandrovich 
Serov, chairman of the KGB from 1954 to 1958, dutifully 
reported to Khrushchev that the files had contained much 
“provocative and libelous” material.^ 

Mitrokhin was an avid reader of the Russian writers 
who had fallen out of favor in the final years of Stalinist 
rule and began to be published again during the mid- 
1950s. The first great literary event in Moscow after 
Stalin’s death was the publication in 1954, for the first 
time since 1945, of new poems by Boris Pasternak, the 
last leading Russian author to have begun his career 
before the Revolution. Published in a literary magazine 
under the title “Poems from the Novel Doctor Zhivago T 
they were accompanied by a brief description of the epic 
but still unfinished work in which they were to appear. 
However, the completed text of Doctor Zhivago, which 
followed the meandering life of its enigmatic hero from 
the final phase of Tsarist rule to the early years of the 
Soviet regime, was judged far too subversive for 
publication and was officially rejected in 1956. In the 
novel, when Zhivago hears the news of the Bolshevik 

Revolution, “He was shaken and overwhelmed by the 
greatness of the moment, and thought of its significance 
for the centuries to come.” But Pasternak goes on to 
convey an unmistakable sense of the spiritual emptiness 
of the regime which emerged from it. Lenin is “vengeance 
incarnate” and Stalin a “pockmarked Caligula.” 

Pasternak became the first Soviet author since the 
1920s to circumvent the banning of his work in Russia by 
publishing it abroad. As he handed the typescript of 
Doctor Zhivago to a representative of his Italian 
publisher, Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, he told him with a 
melancholy laugh: “You are hereby invited to watch me 
face the firing squad!” Soon afterwards, acting on official 
instructions, Pasternak sent a telegram to Feltrinelli 
insisting that his novel be withdrawn from publication; 
privately, however, he wrote a letter telling him to go 
ahead. Published first in Italian in November 1957, 
Doctor Zhivago became a bestseller in twenty-four 
languages. Some Western critics hailed it as the greatest 
Russian novel since Tolstoy’s Resurrection, published in 
1899. Official outrage in Moscow at Doctor Zhivago'^ 
success was compounded by the award to Pasternak of the 
1958 Nobel Prize for Literature. In a cable to the Swedish 
Academy, Pasternak declared himself “immensely 
thankful, touched, proud, astonished, abashed.” The 
newspaper of the Soviet Writers’ Union, the 
Literaturnaya Gazeta, however, denounced him as “a 
literary Judas who betrayed his people for thirty pieces of 

silver — the Nobel Prize.” Under immense official 
pressure, Pasternak cabled Stockholm withdrawing his 
acceptance of the prize “in view of the significance given 
to this award in the society to which I belong.”^ 

Though Pasternak was not one of his own favorite 
authors, Mitrokhin saw the official condemnation of 
Doctor Zhivago as typifying Khrushchev’s cultural 
barbarism. “The development of literature and art in a 
socialist society,” Khrushchev boorishly insisted, 
“proceeds... as directed by the Party.” Mitrokhin was so 
outraged by the neo- Stalinist denunciations of Pasternak 
by Moscow’s literary establishment that in October 1958 
he sent an anonymous letter of protest to the 
Literaturnaya Gazeta. Though he wrote the letter with his 
left hand in order to disguise his handwriting, he remained 
anxious for some time that his identity might be 
discovered. Mitrokhin knew from KGB files the immense 
resources which were frequently deployed to track down 
anonymous letter- writers. He was even worried that, by 
licking the gum on the back of the envelope before 
sealing it, he had made it possible for his saliva to be 
identified by a KGB laboratory. The whole episode 
strengthened his resentment at Khrushchev’s failure to 
follow his secret speech of 1956 by a thoroughgoing 
program of de-Stalinization. Khrushchev, he suspected, 
had personally ordered Pasternak’s persecution as a 
warning to all those inclined to challenge his authority. 

As yet, however, Mitrokhin pinned his faith not on the 

overthrow of the Soviet regime but on the emergence of a 
new leader less tainted than Khrushchev by his Stalinist 
past. When, late in 1958, Serov was replaced as KGB 
chairman by one of his leading critics, Aleksandr 
Nikolayevich Shelepin, Mitrokhin believed that the new 
leader had emerged. Aged only forty, Shelepin had made 
his reputation as a guerrilla commander during the Second 
World War. As head of the Communist Youth League 
(Komsomol) from 1952 to 1958, he had mobilized 
thousands of young people from Khrushchev’s “Virgin 
Lands” campaign to turn vast areas of steppe into arable 
farmland. Though many of the new collective farms were 
later ruined by soil erosion, in the short term the 
campaign seemed a spectacular success. Soviet newsreels 
showed endless lines of combine-harvesters as they 
advanced through prairies rippling with grain and 
stretching as far as the eye could see. 

As Mitrokhin had hoped, Shelepin rapidly established 
himself as a new broom within the KGB, replacing many 
veteran Stalinists with bright young graduates from 
Komsomol. Mitrokhin was impressed by the way that 
when Shelepin gave televised speeches, he looked briefly 
at his notes, then spoke directly to the viewer — instead of 
woodenly reading from a prepared text like most Soviet 
leaders. Shelepin sought to give the KGB a new public 
image. “Violations of socialist legality,” he claimed in 
1961, “have been completely eliminated... The Chekists 
[KGB officers] can look the Party and the Soviet people 

in the eye with a clear conscience.” Mitrokhin also 
remembers Shelepin for an act of personal kindness to a 
close relative. 

Like Beria before him and Andropov after him, 
Shelepin’ s ambitions stretched far beyond the 
chairmanship of the KGB. As a twenty-year-old 
university student, he was once asked what he wanted to 
become. According to the Russian historian Roy 
Medvedev, he instantly replied, “A chief! Shelepin saw 
the KGB as a stepping stone in a career which he intended 
to take him to the post of First Secretary of the CPSU. In 
December 1961 he left the KGB but continued to oversee 
its work as chairman of the powerful new Committee of 
Party and State Control. The new KGB chairman was 
Shelepin’ s youthful but less dynamic protege, thirty- 
seven-year-old Vladimir Yefimovich Semichastny. On 
Khrushchev’s instructions, Semichastny resumed the 
work of pruning the archives of material which too 
vividly recalled the Presidium’s Stalinist past, ordering 
the destruction of nine volumes of files on the liquidation 
of Central Committee members, senior intelligence 
officers and foreign Communists living in Moscow during 
the Stalin era.^ 

Mitrokhin continued to see Shelepin as a future First 
Secretary, and was not surprised when he became one of 
the leaders of the coup which toppled Khrushchev in 
1964. Memories of Beria, however, were still too fresh in 
the minds of most of the Presidium for them to be 

prepared to accept a security chief as Party leader. For 
most of his colleagues, Leonid Ilich Brezhnev, who had 
succeeded Khrushchev as First (later General) Secretary, 
was a far more reassuring figure — affable, lightweight 
and patient in reconciling opposing factions, though 
skillful in outmaneuvering his political rivals. By 1967 
Brezhnev felt strong enough to sack the unpopular 
Semichastny and sideline the still-ambitious Shelepin, 
who was demoted from heading the Committee of Party 
and State Control to become chairman of the 
comparatively uninfluential Trade Union Council. On 
arriving in his spacious new office, Shelepin found that 
his predecessor, Viktor Grishin, had what Medvedev later 
euphemistically described as “a specially equipped 
massage parlor” in an adjoining room. Shelepin took 
revenge for his demotion by circulating stories about 
Grishin’s sexual exploits around Moscow. 

The main beneficiary of the downfall of Semichastny 
and the sidelining of Shelepin was Yuri Vladimirovich 
Andropov, who became chairman of the KGB. Andropov 
had what some of his staff called a “Hungarian complex.” 
As Soviet ambassador in Budapest during the Hungarian 
Uprising in 1956, he had watched in horror from the 
windows of his embassy as officers of the hated 
Hungarian security service were strung up from 
lampposts. Andropov remained haunted for the rest of his 
life by the speed with which an apparently all-powerful 
Communist one-party state had begun to topple. When 

other Communist regimes later seemed at risk — in Prague 
in 1968, in Kabul in 1979, in Warsaw in 1981 — he was 
convinced that, as in Budapest in 1956, only armed force 
could ensure their survival. Since leaving Hungary in 
1957 Andropov had been head of the Central Committee 
Department responsible for relations with Communist 
parties in the Soviet Bloc. His appointment in 1967 as the 
first senior Party official brought in to head the KGB was 
intended by Brezhnev to secure political control of the 
security and intelligence systems. Andropov went on to 
become the longest-serving and most politically astute of 
all KGB chiefs, crowning his fifteen years as chairman by 
succeeding Brezhnev as General Secretary in 1982. 

THE FIRST GREAT crisis of Andropov’s years at the 
KGB was the attempt by the Czechoslovak reformers of 
the Prague Spring to create what the Kremlin saw as an 
unacceptably unorthodox “socialism with a human face.” 
Like Khrushchev’s Secret Speech, the invasion of 
Czechoslovakia by the forces of the Warsaw Pact in 
August 1968 was an important staging post in what 
Mitrokhin calls his “intellectual odyssey.” Stationed in 
East Germany during the Prague Spring, Mitrokhin was 
able to listen to reports from Czechoslovakia on the 
Russian-language services of the BBC World Service, 
Radio Liberty, Deutsche Welle and the Canadian 
Broadcasting Company, but had no one with whom he felt 
able to share his sympathy for the Prague reforms. One 

episode about a month before Soviet tanks entered Prague 
left a particular impression on him. An FCD Department 

V (“special tasks”) officer, Colonel Viktor Ryabov, said 
to Mitrokhin that he was “just off to Sweden for a few 
days,” but made clear by his expression that Sweden was 
not his real destination. A few days after Ryabov’s return, 
he told Mitrokhin there would be an interesting article in 
the following day’s Pravda, implying that it was 
connected with his mission. When Mitrokhin read the 
report the next day that an “imperialist arms dump” had 
been discovered in Czechoslovakia, he realized at once 
that it had been planted by Ryabov and other Department 

V officers to discredit the reformers. 

Soon after the crushing of the Prague Spring, Mitrokhin 
heard a speech given by Andropov in the KGB’s East 
German headquarters at Karlshorst in the Berlin suburbs. 
Like Shelepin, Andropov spoke directly to the audience, 
rather than — like most Soviet officials — sticking to a 
prepared platitudinous text. With an ascetic appearance, 
silver hair swept back over a large forehead, steel-rimmed 
glasses and an intellectual manner, Andropov seemed far 
removed from Stalinist thugs such as Beria and Serov. His 
explanation for the invasion of Czechoslovakia was far 
more sophisticated than that given to the Soviet public. It 
had, he insisted, been the only way to preserve Soviet 
security and the new European order which had emerged 
from the Great Patriotic War. That objective political 
necessity, Andropov claimed, was accepted even by such 

unorthodox figures as the great physicist Pyotr Kapitza, 
who had initially shown some sympathy for the Prague 
revisionists. Mitrokhin drew quite different conclusions 
from the Warsaw Pact invasion. The destruction of 
Czechoslovak “socialism with a human face” proved, he 
believed, that the Soviet system was unreformable. He 
still vividly recalls a curiously mythological image, which 
henceforth he saw increasingly in his mind’s eye, of the 
Russian people in thrall to “a three-headed hydra”: the 
Communist Party, the privileged nomenklatura and the 

After his return to Moscow from East Germany, 
Mitrokhin continued to listen to Western broadcasts, 
although, because of Soviet jamming, he had frequently to 
switch wavelengths in order to find an audible station. 
Often he ended up with only fragments of news stories. 
Among the news which made the greatest impression on 
him were items on the Chronicle of Current Events, a 
samizdat journal first produced by Soviet dissidents in 
1968 to circulate news on the struggle against abuses of 
human rights. The Chronicle carried on its masthead the 
guarantee of freedom of expression in the United Nations 
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, daily abused in 
the Soviet Union. 

As the struggle against “ideological subversion” 
intensified, Mitrokhin saw numerous examples of the way 
in which the KGB manipulated, virtually at will, the 
Soviet justice system. He later copied down the 

sycophantic congratulations sent to Andropov by A. F. 
Gorkhin, chairman of the Soviet Supreme Court, on the 
fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Cheka in 
December 1967: 

The Soviet Courts and the USSR Committee of State 
Security [KGB] are of the same age. But this is not 
the main thing which brings us together; the main 
thing is the identity of our tasks ... 

We are glad to note that the State Security 
agencies and the Courts solve all their complicated 
tasks in a spirit of mutual understanding and sound 
professional relations. 

Mitrokhin saw mounting evidence both in the classified 
in-house journal, KGB Sbornik, and in FCD files of 
Andropov’s personal obsession with the destruction of 
dissent in all its forms and his insistence that the struggle 
for human rights was part of a wide-ranging imperialist 
plot to undermine the foundations of the Soviet state. In 
1968 Andropov issued KGB Chairman’s Order No. 0051, 
“On the tasks of State security agencies in combating 
ideological sabotage by the adversary,” calling for greater 
aggression in the struggle against both dissidents at home 
and their imperialist supporters. One example of this 
greater aggression which left Mitrokhin, as an ardent 
admirer of the Kirov Ballet, with a sense of personal 
outrage was the plan which he discovered in FCD files to 

maim the ballet’s star defector, Rudolf Nureyev.^^ 

By the beginning of the 1970s Mitrokhin’s political 
views were deeply influenced by the dissident struggle, 
which he was able to follow both in KGB records and 
Western broadcasts. “I was a loner,” he recalls, “but I now 
knew that I was not alone.” Though Mitrokhin never had 
any thought of aligning himself openly with the human 
rights movement, the example of the Chronicle of Current 
Events and other samizdat productions helped to inspire 
him with the idea of producing a classified variant of the 
dissidents’ attempts to document the iniquities of the 
Soviet system. Gradually the project began to form in his 
mind of compiling his own private record of the foreign 
operations of the KGB. 

Mitrokhin’s opportunity came in June 1972 when the 
First Chief (Foreign Intelligence) Directorate left its 
overcrowded central Moscow offices in the KGB 
headquarters at the Lubyanka (once the pre-Revolutionary 
home of the Rossiya Insurance Company) and moved to a 
new building south-east of Moscow at Yasenevo, half a 
mile beyond the outer ringroad. Designed by a Finnish 
architect, the main Y-shaped seven-story office building 
was flanked on one side by an assembly hall and library, 
on the other by a polyclinic, sports complex and 
swimming pool, with pleasant views over hills covered 
with birch trees, green pastures, and — in summer — fields 
of wheat and rye. To the other KGB directorates, most of 
which worked in cramped conditions in central Moscow, 

Yasenevo was known — ^with more envy than 

condescension — as “The Woods.” 

For the next ten years, working from private offices 
both in the Lubyanka and at Yasenevo, Mitrokhin was 
alone responsible for checking and sealing the 
approximately 300,000 files in the FCD archive prior to 
their transfer to the new headquarters. While supervising 
the checking of files, the compilation of inventories and 
the writing of index cards, Mitrokhin was able to inspect 
what files he wished in one or other of his offices. Few 
KGB officers apart from Mitrokhin have ever spent as 
much time reading, let alone noting, foreign intelligence 
files. Outside the FCD archives, only the most senior 
officers shared his unrestricted access, and none had the 
time to read more than a fraction of the material noted by 

Mitrokhin ’s usual weekly routine was to spend each 
Monday, Tuesday and Friday in his Yasenevo office. On 
Wednesdays he went to the Lubyanka to work on the 
FCD’s most secret files, those of Directorate S which ran 
illegals — KGB officers and agents, most of Soviet 
nationality, working under deep cover abroad disguised as 
foreign citizens. Once reviewed by Mitrokhin, each batch 
of files was placed in sealed containers which were 
transported to Yasenevo on Thursday mornings, 
accompanied by Mitrokhin who checked them on 
arrival. Unlike the other departments, who moved to the 
new FCD headquarters in 1972, Directorate S remained 

based in the Lubyanka for a further decade. 

Mitrokhin thus found himself spending more time 
dealing with the files of Directorate S, the most secret in 
the FCD, than with those of any other section of Soviet 
foreign intelligence. The illegals retained a curious 
mystique within the KGB. Before being posted abroad, 
every illegal officer was required to swear a solemn, if 
somewhat melodramatic, oath: 

Deeply valuing the trust placed upon me by the Party 
and the fatherland, and imbued with a sense of 
intense gratitude for the decision to send me to the 
sharp edge of the struggle for the interest of my 
people... as a worthy son of the homeland, I would 
rather perish than betray the secrets entrusted to me 
or put into the hand of the adversary materials which 
could cause political harm to the interests of the 
State. With every heartbeat, with every day that 
passes, I swear to serve the Party, the homeland, and 
the Soviet people. 

The files showed that before the Second World War the 
greatest foreign successes had been achieved by a 
legendary group of intelligence officers, often referred to 
as the “Great Illegals.” After the Second World War, the 
KGB had tried to recreate its pre-war triumphs by 
establishing an elaborate network of “illegal residencies” 
alongside the “legal residencies” which operated under 

diplomatic or other official cover in foreign capitals. 

The records of Directorate S revealed some remarkable 
individual achievements. KGB illegals successfully 
established bogus identities as foreign nationals in a great 
variety of professions ranging from Costa Rican 
ambassador to piano tuner to the Governor of New York. 
Even in the Gorbachev era, KGB propaganda continued 
to depict the Soviet illegal as the supreme embodiment of 
the chivalric ideal in the service of secret intelligence. The 
retired British KGB agent George Blake wrote in 1990: 

Only a man who believes very strongly in an ideal 
and serves a great cause will agree to embark on 
such a career, though the word “calling” is perhaps 
appropriate here. Only an intelligence service which 
works for a great cause can ask for such a sacrifice 
from its officers. That is why, as far as I know, at 
any rate in peacetime, only the Soviet intelligence 
service has “illegal residents. 

The SVR continues the KGB tradition of illegal 
hagiography. In July 1995, a month after the death of the 
best-known American-bom illegal, Morris Cohen, 
President Yeltsin conferred on him the posthumous title 
of Hero of the Russian Federation. 

The files of Directorate S noted by Mitrokhin reveal a 
quite different kind of illegal. Alongside the committed 
FCD officers who maintained their cover and professional 

discipline throughout their postings, there were others 
who could not cope when confronted by the contrast 
between the Soviet propaganda image of capitalist 
exploitation and the reality of life in the West. An even 
darker secret of the Directorate S records was that one of 
the principal uses of the illegals during the last quarter of 
a century of the Soviet Union was to search out and 
compromise dissidents in the other countries of the 
Warsaw Pact. The squalid struggle against “ideological 
subversion” was as much a responsibility of Directorate S 
as of the rest of the FCD. 

he set out in 1972 to compile his forbidden FCD archive. 
For a few weeks he tried to commit names, codenames 
and key facts from the files to memory and transcribe 
them each evening when he returned home. Abandoning 
that process as too slow and cumbersome, he began to 
take notes in minuscule handwriting on scraps of paper 
which he crumpled up and threw into his wastepaper 
basket. Each evening, he retrieved his notes from the 
wastepaper and smuggled them out of Yasenevo 
concealed in his shoes. Gradually Mitrokhin became more 
confident as he satisfied himself that the Yasenevo 
security guards confined themselves to occasional 
inspections of bags and briefcases without attempting 
body searches. After a few months he started taking notes 
on ordinary sheets of office paper which he took out of 

his office in his jacket and trouser pockets. 

Not once in the twelve years which Mitrokhin spent 
noting the FCD archives was he stopped and searched. 
There were, however, some desperately anxious 
moments. From time to time he realized that, like other 
FCD officers, he was being tailed — probably by teams 
from the Seventh (Surveillance) or Second Chief 
(Counter-intelligence) Directorates. On one occasion 
while he was being followed, he visited the Dynamo 
Football Club sports shop and, to his horror, found 
himself standing next to two English visitors whom his 
watchers might suspect were spies with whom he had 
arranged a rendezvous. If he was searched, his notes on 
top secret files would be instantly discovered. Mitrokhin 
quickly moved on to other sports shops, hoping to 
convince his watchers that he was on a genuine shopping 
expedition. As he approached his apartment block, 
however, he noticed two men standing near the door to 
his ninth-floor flat. By the time he arrived, they had 
disappeared. FCD officers had standing instructions to 
report suspicious incidents such as this, but Mitrokhin did 
not do so for fear of prompting an investigation which 
would draw attention to the fact that he had been seen 
standing next to English visitors. 

Each night when he returned to his Moscow flat, 
Mitrokhin hid his notes beneath his mattress. On 
weekends he took them to a family dacha thirty-six 
kilometers from Moscow and typed up as many as 

possible, though the notes became so numerous that 
Mitrokhin was forced to leave some of them in 
handwritten form. He hid the first batches of typescripts 
and notes in a milk-chum which he buried below the 
floor. The dacha was built on raised foundations, 
leaving just enough room for Mitrokhin to crawl beneath 
the floorboards and dig a hole with a short-handled spade. 
He frequently found himself crawling through dog and cat 
feces and sometimes disturbed rats while he was digging, 
but he consoled himself with the thought that burglars 
were unlikely to follow him. When the milk-chum was 
full, he began concealing his notes and typescripts in a tin 
clothes-boiler. Eventually his archive also filled two tin 
tmnks and two aluminum cases, all of them buried 
beneath the dacha.^^ 

Mitrokhin’ s most anxious moment came when he 
arrived at his weekend dacha to find a stranger hiding in 
the attic. He was instantly reminded of the incident a few 
years earlier, in August 1971, when a friend of the writer 
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn had called unexpectedly at his 
dacha while Solzhenitsyn was away and surprised two 
KGB officers in the attic who were probably searching for 
subversive manuscripts. Other KGB men had quickly 
arrived on the scene and Solzhenitsyn’s friend had been 
badly beaten. Andropov cynically ordered Solzhenitsyn to 
be “informed that the participation of the KGB in this 
incident is a figment of his imagination.”^^ The incident 

was still fresh in Mitrokhin’s mind when he arrived at the 
dacha because he had recently noted files which recorded 
minutely detailed plans for the persecution of 
Solzhenitsyn and the “active measures” by which the 
KGB hoped to discredit him in the Western press. To his 
immense relief, however, the intruder in the attic turned 
out to be a homeless squatter. 

During summer holidays Mitrokhin worked on batches 
of his notes at a second family dacha near Penza, carrying 
them in an old haversack and dressing in peasant clothes 
in order not to attract attention. In the summer of 1918 
Penza, 630 kilometers southeast of Moscow, had been the 
site of one of the first peasant risings against Bolshevik 
rule. Lenin blamed the revolt on the kulaks (better-off 
peasants) and furiously instructed the local Party leaders 
to hang in public at least one hundred of them so that “for 
hundreds of kilometers around the people may see and 
tremble... By the 1970s, however, Penza’s counter- 
revolutionary past was long forgotten, and Lenin’s 
bloodthirsty orders for mass executions were kept from 
public view in the secret section of the Lenin archive. 

One of the most striking characteristics of the best 
literature produced under the Soviet regime is how much 
of it was written in secret. “To plunge underground,” 
wrote Solzhenitsyn, “to make it your concern not to win 
the world’s recognition — Heaven forbid! — ^but on the 
contrary to shun it: this variant of the writer’s lot is 
peculiarly our own, purely Russian, Russian and 

Soviet! Between the wars Mikhail Bulgakov had spent 
twelve years writing The Master and Margarita, one of 
the greatest novels of the twentieth century, knowing that 
it could not be published in his lifetime and fearing that it 
might never appear at all. His widow later recalled how, 
just before his death in 1940, Bulgakov “made me get out 
of bed and then, leaning on my arm, he walked through 
all the rooms, barefoot and in his dressing gown, to make 
sure that the manuscript of The Master was still there” in 
its hiding place.^^ Though Bulgakov’s great work 
survived, it was not published until a quarter of a century 
after his death. As late as 1978, it was denounced in a 
KGB memorandum to Andropov as “a dangerous weapon 
in the hands of [Western] ideological centers engaged in 
ideological sabotage against the Soviet Union. 

When Solzhenitsyn began writing in the 1950s, he told 
himself he had “entered into the inheritance of every 
modem writer intent on the tmth”: 

I must write simply to ensure that it was not 
forgotten, that posterity might some day come to 
know of it. Publication in my own lifetime I must 
shut out of my mind, out of my dreams. 

Just as Mitrokhin’s first notes were hidden in a milk- 
chum beneath his dacha, so Solzhenitsyn’s earliest 
writings, in minuscule handwriting, were squeezed into an 
empty champagne bottle and buried in his garden.^^ After 

the brief thaw in the early years of “de-Stalinization” 
which made possible the publication of Solzhenitsyn’s 
story of life in the gulag, One Day in the Life of Ivan 
Denisovich, he waged a timeconsuming struggle to try to 
prevent the KGB from seizing his other manuscripts until 
he was finally forced into exile in 1974.^^ It did not occur 
to Mitrokhin to compare himself with such literary giants 
as Bulgakov and Solzhenitsyn. But, like them, he began 
assembling his archive “to ensure that the truth was not 
forgotten, that posterity might some day come to know of 

THE KGB FILES which had the greatest emotional 
impact on Mitrokhin were those on the war in 
Afghanistan. On December 28, 1979 Babrak Karmal, the 
new Afghan leader chosen by Moscow to request 
“fraternal assistance” by the Red Army which had already 
invaded his country, announced over Kabul Radio that his 
predecessor, Hafizullah Amin, an “agent of American 
imperialism,” had been tried by a “revolutionary tribunal” 
and sentenced to death. Mitrokhin quickly discovered 
from the files on the war which flooded into the archives 
that Amin had in reality been assassinated, together with 
his family and entourage, in an assault on the Kabul 
presidential palace by KGB special forces disguised in 
Afghan uniforms. 

The female clerks who filed KGB reports on the war in 
the archives after they had been circulated to the Politburo 

and other sections of the Soviet hierarchy had so much 
material to deal with that they sometimes submitted to 
Mitrokhin thirty files at a time for his approval. The 
horrors recorded in the files were carefully concealed 
from the Soviet people. The Soviet media preserved a 
conspiracy of silence about the systematic destruction of 
thousands of Afghan villages, reduced to forlorn groups 
of uninhabited, roofless mud-brick houses; the flight of 
four million refugees; and the death of a million Afghans 
in a war which Gorbachev later described as a “mistake.” 
The coffins of the 15,000 Red Army troops killed in the 
conflict were unloaded silently at Soviet airfields, with 
none of the military pomp and solemn music which 
traditionally awaited fallen heroes returning to the 
Motherland. Funerals were held in secret, and families 
told simply that their loved ones had died “fulfilling their 
internationalist duty.” Some were buried in plots near the 
graves of Mitrokhin ’s parents in the cemetery at 
Kuzminsky Monastery. No reference to Afghanistan was 
allowed on their tombstones. During the Afghan War 
Mitrokhin heard the first open criticism of Soviet policy 
by his more outspoken colleagues at Yasenevo. “Doesn’t 
the war make you ashamed to be Russian?” an FCD 
colonel asked him one day. “Ashamed to be Soviet, you 
mean!” Mitrokhin blurted out. 

When Mitrokhin retired in 1984, he was still 
preoccupied with the Afghan War. He spent the first year 
and a half of his retirement sorting through his notes. 

extracting the material on Afghanistan, and assembling it 
in a large volume with a linking narrative. Despite 
Gorbachev’s call for glasnost after he became Party 
leader in 1985, Mitrokhin did not believe the Soviet 
system would ever allow the truth about the war to be 
told. Increasingly, however, he began to think of ways of 
transporting his archive to the West and publishing it 

One novel method suggested itself on May 28, 1987, 
when a single-engine Cessna piloted by a nineteen-year- 
old West German, Matthias Rust, crossed the Finnish 
border into Soviet airspace and flew undetected for 450 
miles before landing in Red Square. After an hour of 
confusion, during which Kremlin security guards 
wondered whether Rust was an actor in a film, he was 
taken away to the KGB’s Lefortovo Prison. Mitrokhin 
briefly considered but quickly abandoned the idea of 
using a microlite from a KGB sports club to fly with his 
archive in the opposite direction to Finland. 

The most practical of the various schemes considered 
by Mitrokhin before the collapse of the Soviet Union was 
to get a position on the local Party committee which 
issued permits for foreign travel, obtain permits for 
himself and his family, then book reservations on a cruise 
from Leningrad to Odessa in the Black Sea. At one of the 
cruise’s West European ports of call, Mitrokhin would 
make contact with the authorities and arrange to leave his 
archive in a dead letter-box near Moscow for collection 

by a Western intelligence agency. He eventually 
abandoned the idea because of the difficulty of separating 
himself from the Soviet tour group and the ever-watchful 
group leaders for long enough to tell his story and arrange 
the hand-over. 

As the Berlin Wall came down in November 1989 and 
the Soviet Bloc began to disintegrate, Mitrokhin told 
himself to be patient and wait for his opportunity. In the 
meantime he carried on typing up his handwritten notes in 
his Moscow flat and at the two family dachas, assembling 
some of them in volumes covering the FCD’s chief target 
countries — first and foremost the United States, known in 
KGB jargon as the “Main Adversary.” He shared the 
relief of most Muscovites at the failure of the hardline 
coup in August 1991 to depose Gorbachev and reestablish 
the one-party Soviet state. It came as no surprise to 
Mitrokhin that the chief ringleader in the failed coup was 
Vladimir Aleksandrovich Kryuchkov, head of the FCD 
from 1974 to 1988 and chairman of the KGB from 1988 
until the coup. 

Though Kryuchkov proved better at public relations 
than most previous KGB chairmen, he had long 
represented much of what Mitrokhin most detested in the 
FCD. As a young diplomat at the Soviet embassy in 
Budapest, Kryuchkov had caught the eye of the 
ambassador, Yuri Andropov, by his uncompromising 
opposition to the “counter-revolutionary” Hungarian 
Uprising of 1956. When Andropov became KGB 

chairman in 1967, Kryuchkov became head of his 
personal secretariat and a loyal supporter of his obsessive 
campaign against “ideological subversion” in all its 
forms. The files seen by Mitrokhin showed that, as head 
of the FCD, Kryuchkov collaborated closely with the 
KGB Fifth (Ideological Subversion) Directorate in the 
war against dissidents at home and abroad.^^ He had 
made a senior member of the Fifth Directorate, 1. A. 
Markelov, one of the deputy heads of the FCD with 
responsibility for coordinating the struggle against 
ideological subversion.^^ The failed coup of August 1991 
marked an appropriately discreditable end to Kryuchkov’s 
KGB career. Instead of shoring up the Soviet Union and 
the one-party state, it served only to hasten their collapse. 

On October 11, 1991, the State Council of the 
disintegrating Soviet Union abolished the KGB in its 
existing form. The former FCD was reconstituted as the 
SVR, the foreign intelligence service of the Russian 
Federation, independent of the internal security service. 
Instead of repudiating its Soviet past, however, the SVR 
saw itself as the heir of the old FCD. Mitrokhin had seen 
the FCD file on the SVR’s newly appointed head. 
Academician Yevgeni Maksimovich Primakov, 
previously Director of the Institute of World Economics 
and International Relations and one of Gorbachev’s 
leading foreign policy advisers. The file identified 
Primakov as a KGB co-optee, codenamed MAKSIM, who 
had been sent on frequent intelligence missions to the 

United States and the Middle East.^^ Primakov went on to 
become Boris Yeltsin’s Foreign Minister in 1996 and 
Prime Minister in 1998. 

IN THE FINAL months of 1991, the breakup of the 
Soviet Union and the relative weakness of frontier 
controls at the new borders of the Russian Federation at 
last opened the way to the West for Mitrokhin and his 
archive. In March 1992 he boarded an overnight train in 
Moscow bound for the capital of one of the newly 
independent Baltic republics. With him he took a case 
on wheels, containing bread, sausages and drink for his 
journey on top, clothes underneath, and — at the bottom — 
samples of his notes. The next day he arrived 
unannounced at the British embassy in the Baltic capital 
and asked to speak to “someone in authority.” Hitherto 
Mitrokhin had had an image of the British as rather 
formal and “a bit of a mystery.” But the young female 
diplomat who received him at the embassy struck him as 
“young, attractive and sympathetic,” as well as fluent in 
Russian. Mitrokhin told her he had brought with him 
important material from KGB files. While he rummaged 
at the bottom of his bag to extract his notes from beneath 
the sausages and clothes, the diplomat ordered tea. As 
Mitrokhin drank his first cup of English tea, she read 
some of his notes, then questioned him about them. 
Mitrokhin told her they were only part of a large personal 
archive which included material on KGB operations in 

Britain. He agreed to return to the embassy a month later 
to meet representatives from the Secret Intelligence 

Emboldened by the ease with which he had crossed the 
Russian frontier in March, Mitrokhin brought with him on 
his next trip to the Baltic capital 2,000 typed pages which 
he had removed from the hiding place beneath his dacha 
near Moscow. Arriving at the British embassy on the 
morning of April 9, he identified himself to the SIS 
officers by producing his passport. Communist Party card 
and KGB pension certificate, handed over his bulky 
typescript and spent a day answering questions about 
himself, his archive and how he had compiled it. 
Mitrokhin accepted an invitation to return to the embassy 
about two months later to discuss arrangements for a visit 
to Britain. Early in May the SIS Moscow station reported 
to London that Mitrokhin planned to leave Moscow on an 
overnight train on June 10. On June 11 he arrived in the 
Baltic capital carrying a rucksack containing more 
material from his archive. Most of his meeting with SIS 
officers was spent discussing plans for him to be 
debriefed in Britain during the following autumn. 

On September 7, escorted by SIS, Mitrokhin arrived in 
England for the first time. After the near chaos of post- 
Communist Moscow, London made an extraordinary 
impression on him — “the model of what a capital city 
should be.” At the time, even the heavy traffic, dotted 
with the black cabs and red doubledecker buses he had 

seen only in photographs, seemed but proof of the 
capital’s prosperity. While being debriefed at anonymous 
safe houses in London and the countryside, Mitrokhin 
took the final decision to leave Russia for Britain, and 
agreed with SIS on arrangements to exfiltrate himself, his 
family and his archive. On October 13 he was infiltrated 
back into Russia to make final arrangements for his 

On November 7, 1992, the seventy-fifth anniversary of 
the Bolshevik Revolution, Mitrokhin arrived with his 
family in the Baltic capital where he had first made 
contact with SIS. A few days later they arrived in London 
to begin a new life in Britain. It was a bittersweet 
moment. Mitrokhin was safe and secure for the first time 
since he had begun assembling his secret archive eighteen 
years previously, but at the same time he felt a sense of 
bereavement at separation from a homeland he knew he 
would probably never see again. The bereavement has 
passed, though his attachment to Russia remains. 
Mitrokhin is now a British citizen. Using his senior 
citizen’s railcard to travel the length and breadth of the 
country, he has seen more of Britain than most who were 
bom here. Since 1992 he has spent several days a week 
working on his archive, typing up the remaining 
handwritten notes, and responding to questions about his 
archive from intelligence services from five continents. 
Late in 1995 he had his first meeting with Christopher 
Andrew to discuss the preparation of this book. Though 

The Sword and the Shield could not have been written in 
Russia, Mitrokhin remains as convinced as he was in 
1972 that the secret history of the KGB is a central part of 
the Soviet past which the Russian people have the right to 
know. He also believes that the KGB’s worldwide foreign 
operations form an essential, though often neglected, part 
of the history of twentieth-century international relations. 

NO WORD LEAKED out in the British media about 
either Mitrokhin or his archive. Because material from the 
archive was passed to so many other intelligence and 
security services, however, there were, unsurprisingly, 
some partial leaks abroad. The first, slightly garbled 
reference to Mitrokhin ’s archive occurred in the United 
States nine months after his defection. In August 1993 the 
well-known Washington investigative journalist Ronald 
Kessler published a bestselling book on the FBI based in 
part on sources inside the Bureau. Among his revelations 
was a brief reference to a sensational “probe by the FBI 
into information from a former KGB employee who had 
had access to KGB files”: 

According to his account, the KGB had had many 
hundreds of Americans and possibly more than a 
thousand spying for them in recent years. So specific 
was the information that the FBI was quickly able to 
establish the source’s credibility... By the summer of 
1993, the FBI had mobilized agents in most major 

cities to pursue the cases. A top secret meeting was 
called at Quantico [the FBI National Academy] to 
plot strategy. 

Kessler did not name any of the “many hundreds of 
Americans” identified by the defector. An unnamed “US 
intelligence official” interviewed by the Washington Post 
“confirmed that the FBI had received specific information 
that has led to a ‘significant’ ongoing investigation into 
past KGB activities in the United States,” but declined to 
be drawn in on “how many people are implicated. 
Time reported that “sources familiar with the case” of the 
KGB defector had identified him as a former employee of 
the First Chief Directorate, but had described Kessler’s 
figures for the number of “recenf’ Soviet spies in the 
United States as “highly exaggerated.”^^ 

Mitrokhin’s notes do indeed contain the names of 
“many hundreds” of KGB officers, agents and contacts in 
the United States active at various periods since the 
1920s. Kessler, however, wrongly suggested that this 
number applied to “recent years” rather than to the whole 
history of Soviet espionage in the United States. Though 
his figures were publicly disputed, the suggestion that the 
KGB defector had gone to the United States rather than to 
Britain went unchallenged.^^ When no further information 
on the unidentified defector was forthcoming, media 
interest in the story quickly died away. 

There was no further leak from Mitrokhin’s archive for 
over three years. In October 1996, however, reports in the 
French press alleged that Charles Hemu, Defence 
Minister from 1981 to 1985, had worked for Soviet Bloc 
intelligence services from 1953 until at least 1963, and 
that, when informed by the French security service, the 
DST, President Francois Mitterrand had hushed the 
scandal up.^^ Le Monde reported that from 1993 onwards 
British intelligence had passed on to the DST “a list of 
about 300 names of diplomats and officials of the Quai 
d’Orsay alleged to have worked for Soviet Bloc 
intelligence.”^^ In reality, French diplomats and Foreign 
Ministry officials made up only a minority of the names 
in Mitrokhin’s notes supplied by the SIS to the DST. 
Charles Hemu was not among them.^^ None of the media 
reports on either side of the Channel related the SIS lists 
of Soviet agents in France to Kessler’s earlier story of a 
defector with extensive access to KGB files. 

In December 1996 the German weekly Focus reported 
that, according to “reliable sources,” SIS had also 
provided the BfV, the German security service, with the 
names of several hundred German politicians, 
businessmen, lawyers and police officers who had been 
involved with the KGB. On this occasion the SIS source 
was identified as a Russian defector who had had 
extensive access to the KGB archives. A later article in 
Focus reported: 

The Federal Prosecutor has been examining 
numerous detailed new leads to a hitherto 
undiscovered agent network of the former Soviet 
secret service, the KGB, in Germany. The 
researchers in Karlsruhe are primarily concentrating 
on Moscow sources who were taken on by the 
successors to the KGB and have probably been 
reactivated since the end of the Cold War. 

The basis for the research is extensive information 
on agents which a Russian defector smuggled into 
London from the Moscow secret service. After 
intensive analysis, the British secret service passed 
all information on KGB connections in Germany to 
the BfV in Cologne in early 1996.^^ 

In July 1997 another leak from Mitrokhin’s archive 
occurred in Austria. Press reports quoted a KGB 
document giving directions for locating a secret arms 
dump of mines, explosives and detonators, codenamed 
GROT, hidden in a dead letter-box near Salzburg in 1963, 
which had been intended for use in sabotage operations: 

Leave the town of Salzburg by the Schallmoser 
Haupstrasse leading to Highway No. 158. At a 
distance of 8 km from the town limit, in the direction 
of Bad Ischl-Graz, there is a large stone bridge 
across a narrow valley. Before reaching this bridge, 
leave the federal highway by turning right on to a 

local road which follows the valley in the direction 
of Ebenau; then go on 200 meters to the end of the 
metal parapet, which stands on the left-hand side of 
the road. On reaching the end of the parapet, turn left 
at once and follow a village road leading in the 
opposite direction. The DLB is located about 50 
meters (60 paces) from the turn-off point leading 
from the main road on to the village road ...^^ 

Though the Austrian press did not mention it, the 
document came from Mitrokhin’s archive, which also 
revealed that in 1964 road repair works had covered the 
entrance to the DLB, raised the ground level, and changed 
the layout of the surrounding area. The KGB had decided 
not to try to recover and relocate the GROT arms dump. 
Attempts by the Austrian authorities to find the dump in 
1997 also failed.^^ Mitrokhin’s notes reveal that similar 
KGB arms and radio caches, some of them booby- 
trapped, are scattered around much of Europe and North 

The press leak which came closest to revealing the 
existence of Mitrokhin’s archive was a further article in 
the German weekly Focus, in June 1998. Focus reported 
that a colonel in the FCD registry with access to “all the 
files on Moscow’s agents” had smuggled handwritten 
copies of them out of KGB headquarters to his dacha near 
Moscow. In 1992 he had defected to Britain and, 
according to Focus, SIS agents had brought the 

“explosive” notes hidden in the dacha back to London.^^ 
Four years later, in an operation codenamed WEEKEND, 
SIS had allegedly briefed the BfV on the German material 
in the archive. According to Focus, “The defector has 
presented the BfV with hundreds of leads to Moscow’s 
spy network in the Federal Republic of Germany.” A 
“high-ranking BfV official” was said to have commented, 
“We were quite shocked at how much [the defector] 
knew. Moscow clearly possesses tons of blackmail 
material.” The BfV was reported to have received new 
leads on fifty espionage cases and to have begun twelve 
new investigations.^^ 

The Focus article, however, inspired widespread 
skepticism — ^partly because the story of a top secret KGB 
archive exfiltrated from a Russian dacha seemed 
inherently improbable, partly because the only detailed 
example given by Focus of the intelligence it contained 
was the sensational allegation that the former Chancellor, 
Willy Brandt, “the icon of Germany’s Social Democrats,” 
had been a Soviet spy during the Second World War. The 
Brandt story was instantly dismissed as “completely 
absurd” by Yuri Kobaladze, head of the SVR press 
bureau. When asked why in this instance the SVR was 
abandoning its usual practice of not commenting on 
individuals alleged to be Russian spies, Kobaladze 

It would naturally be very flattering to have such a 

high-ranking politician on our list of credits, but in 
the interests of preserving historical truth we felt it 
necessary to reject this fiction, which could be 
misused for political purposes. 

Kobaladze also dismissed the story of the secret archive 
in a KGB colonel’s dacha as a myth. The source of the 
Brandt story, he insisted, could only be a former KGB 
major in the Oslo residency, Mikhail Butkov, who had 
defected to Britain in 1991.^^ 

Though wrong about the secret archive, Kobaladze was 
right to reject the allegation that Brandt had been a Soviet 
spy. Mitrokhin’s notes reveal that the KGB archives do 
indeed contain a file on Brandt (codenamed 
POLYARNIK), which shows that while in Stockholm 
during the Second World War he passed on information 
to the NKVD residency. But, as the file makes clear, 
Brandt was also in touch with British and American 
intelligence officers — as well as with the Norwegian 
former secretary of Leon Trotsky, regarded by the NKVD 
as the greatest traitor in Soviet history. Brandt’s 
overriding motive was to provide any information to all 
three members of the wartime Grand Alliance which 
might hasten the defeat of Adolf Hitler. In the case of the 
Soviet Union, he calculated — accurately — that his best 
channel of communication with Moscow was via the 
Stockholm residency. The real embarrassment in the 
POLYARNIK file concerns the role not of Brandt but of 

the KGB. In 1962, almost certainly with Khrushchev’s 
personal approval, the KGB embarked on an operation to 
blackmail Brandt by threatening to use the evidence of his 
wartime dealings with the Stockholm residency to “cause 
unpleasantness” unless he agreed to cooperate. The 
attempted blackmail failed.^^ 

LIKE THE BFV and Austrian counter intelligence, a 
number of other security services and intelligence 
agencies around the world from Scandinavia to Japan 
have been pursuing leads from Mitrokhin’s archive for 
several years — usually unnoticed by the media. Most of 
the leads have been used for counterintelligence purposes 
— to help resolve unsolved cases and neutralize SVR 
operations begun in the KGB era — rather than to mount 
prosecutions. There have, however, been a number of 
convictions which derive from Mitrokhin’s evidence. 

On one occasion, Mitrokhin himself was almost called 
to give evidence in court. The case concerned Robert 
Lipka, an army clerk assigned in the mid-1960s to the 
National Security Agency (NS A, the US SIGINT service), 
whom Mitrokhin had identified as a KGB agent.^^ In May 
1993 FBI agent Dmitri Drouj insky contacted Lipka, 
posing as “Sergei Nikitin,” a GRU officer based in 
Washington. Lipka complained that he was still owed 
money for his espionage over a quarter of a century 
earlier, and was given a total of $10,000 by “Nikitin” over 
the next few months. He appeared confident that he could 

no longer be prosecuted. “The statute of limitations,” he 
told “Nikitin,” “has run out.” “Nikitin” corrected him: “In 
American law the statute of limitations for espionage 
never runs out.” Lipka replied that, whatever the legal 
position, he “would never admit to anything.” After a 
lengthy FBI investigation, Lipka was arrested in February 
1996 at his home in Millersville, Pennsylvania, and 
charged with handing classified documents to the Soviet 

Since Lipka denied all charges against him, Mitrokhin 
expected to give evidence at his trial in the U.S. District 
Court, Philadelphia, in May 1997. But, in what the 
Philadelphia Inquirer termed “a surprising turnaround” in 
the courtroom, Lipka “exploded into tears as he confessed 
that he had handed over classified information to KGB 
agents.” Lipka had been persuaded by his lawyer, Ronald 
F. Kidd, to accept a prosecution offer of a plea bargain 
which would limit his sentence to eighteen years’ 
imprisonment with time off for good behavior, rather than 
continue to plead not guilty and face the prospect of 
spending the rest of his life in jail. Though Mitrokhin ’s 
name was never mentioned in court, it was the evidence 
he had obtained from KGB files which seems to have 
prompted Lipka’ s change of heart. “We saw how 
significant the evidence was,” his lawyer told reporters. 
“But the government also realized they couldn’t go 
through a full trial and not have the mystery witness 
exposed.” The “mystery witness” was Mitrokhin. After 

Lipka’s confession, U.S. Assistant Attorney Barbara J. 
Cohan admitted, “We had a very sensitive witness who, if 
he had had to testify, would have had to testify behind a 
screen and under an assumed name, and now we don’t 
have to surface him at all.”^^ “I feel like Rip Van Spy,” 
said Lipka when he was sentenced in September 1997. “I 
thought I had put this to bed many years ago and I never 
dreamed it would turn out like this.” As well as being 
sentenced to eighteen years’ imprisonment and fined 
10,000 dollars, Lipka was ordered to repay the further 
10,000 dollars from FBI funds given him by “Nikitin.”^^ 

There are many other “Rip Van Spies” whose 
memories of Cold War espionage are likely to be 
reawakened by Mitrokhin’s archive. Some will recognize 
themselves in the pages which follow. About a dozen 
important cases which are still being actively pursued — 
including several in leading NATO countries — cannot be 
referred to for legal reasons until they come to court. Only 
a small minority of the Soviet agents whose codenames 
appear in this volume, however, are likely to be 
prosecuted. But, as the SVR embarks on the biggest and 
most complex damage assessment in Russian intelligence 
history, it has to face the unsettling possibility that some 
of the spies identified by Mitrokhin have since been 
turned into double agents. 

After each of the revelations from Mitrokhin’s archive 
mentioned above, the SVR undoubtedly conducted the 
usual damage assessment exercise in an attempt to 

determine the source and seriousness of the leak. Its 
official statement in 1996 (effectively reaffirmed as 
recently as June 1998), which dismissed as “absolute 
nonsense” the suggestion that the names of several 
hundred Soviet agents could possibly have been given by 
a defector to any Western intelligence agency, 
demonstrates that the conclusions of these exercises were 
very wide of the mark. Not until the publication of this 
book was announced in 1999 did the SVR seem to begin 
to grasp the massive hemorrhage of intelligence which 
had occurred. 

SOME OF THE files noted by Mitrokhin give a vivid 
indication of the ferocity with which the Centre (KGB 
headquarters) has traditionally responded to intelligence 
leaks about its past foreign operations. The publication in 
1974 of John Barron’s KGB: The Secret Work of Soviet 
Secret Agents based on information from Soviet 
defectors and Western intelligence agencies, generated no 
fewer than 370 KGB damage assessments and other 
reports. The resident in Washington, Mikhail Korney evich 
Polonik (codenamed ARDOV), was instructed to obtain 
all available information on Barron, then a senior editor at 
Reader's Digest, and to suggest ways “to compromise 
him.”^^ Most of the “active measures” used by the KGB 
in its attempts to discredit Barron made much of his 
Jewish origins, but its fabricated claims that he was part 
of a Zionist conspiracy (a favorite theme in Soviet 

disinformation) appear to have had little resonance 
outside the Middle East.^^ 

The active measures employed against some of the 
journalists who wrote articles based on Barron’s book 
were more imaginative. Doctored versions of blank 
“information cards” from the Austrian Stapo (security 
police) registry previously obtained by KGB agents were 
used to compromise Austrian journalists judged to have 
used material from KGB: The Secret Work of Soviet 
Secret Agents to undermine the “peaceloving” policies of 
the USSR. Fabricated entries on the cards prepared by 
Service A, the FCD active measures specialists, purported 
to show that the Stapo believed the journalists concerned 
to be hand-in-glove with the CIA. Photocopies of the 
cards were then circulated among the Austrian media. The 
files noted by Mitrokhin list other KGB countermeasures 
against Barron’s book in countries as far afield as Turkey, 
Cyprus, Fibya, Febanon, Egypt, Iran, Kuwait, Somalia, 
Uganda, India, Sri Fanka and Afghanistan.^^ 

The other study of the KGB which did the most to 
arouse the ire of the Centre was the history published in 
1990 by Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordlevsky, KGB: 
The Inside Story of Its Foreign Operations from Lenin to 
Gorbachev, which drew on KGB documents and other 
information obtained by Gordlevsky while working as a 
British agent inside the KGB from 1974 to 1985.^^ The 
Centre predictably responded with active measures 

against both the book and its authors. (Some indication 
of its continuing hostility to Gordievsky is provided by 
the fact that, at the time of this writing, he is still under 
sentence of death in Moscow.) There was, however, one 
important new element in the reaction of the KGB, and of 
its chairman Kryuchkov in particular, to the publication of 
the history by Andrew and Gordievsky. In a top secret 
“Chairman’s Order” of September 1990 emphasizing the 
importance of influence operations and other active 
measures (“one of the most important functions of the 
KGB’s foreign intelligence service”), Kryuchkov 
instructed that “wider use should be made of archive 
material” to publicize a “positive” image of the KGB and 
“its more celebrated cases. 

The first approach to a Western writer offering material 
from KGB archives intended to create this “positive” 
image was to the mercurial John Costello, a freelance 
British historian who combined flair for research with a 
penchant for conspiracy theory. In 1991 Costello 
published a book on the mysterious flight to Britain fifty 
years previously of Hitler’s deputy Fiihrer, Rudolf Hess, 
which drew on KGB records selected by the SVR as well 
as Western sources, and argued (implausibly, in the view 
of most experts on the period) that the key to the whole 
affair was a plot by British intelligence.^^ Two years later, 
in collaboration with the SVR consultant (and former 
FCD officer) Oleg Tsarev, Costello published a somewhat 

less controversial biography of the inter-war Soviet 
intelligence officer Aleksandr Orlov which was described 
on the dustjacket as “The first book from the KGB 
archives — the KGB secrets the British government 
doesn’t want you to read.” The book began with tributes 
to the disgraced former chairman of the KGB, Vladimir 
Kryuchkov, and the last head of the FCD, Leonid 
Vladimirovich Shebarshin, for initiating the project. 
Costello added a note of “personal gratitude” to the SVR 
“for the ongoing support that they have given to this 
project which has established a new precedent for 
openness and objectivity in the study of intelligence 
history, not only in Russia, but the rest of the world. 

The Costello-Tsarev combination set the pattern for 
other collaborations between Russian authors selected or 
approved by the SVR and Western writers (who have 
included both well-known historians and a senior retired 
CIA officer): a project initially sponsored, but later 
abandoned, by Crown Books in the United States. For 
each volume in the series, which covers topics from the 
inter- war period to the early Cold War, the SVR has given 
the authors exclusive access to copies of previously top 
secret documents selected by it from KGB archives. All 
the books published so far have contained interesting and 
sometimes important new material; several are also 
impressive for the quality of their historical analysis. 
Their main weakness, for which the authors cannot be 
blamed, is that the choice of KGB documents on which 

they are based has been made not by them but by the 


The choice is sometimes highly selective. During the 
1990s, for example, the SVR has made available to 
Russian and Western authors four successive tranches 
from the bulky file of the KGB’s most famous British 
agent, Kim Philby.^^ In order to preserve both Philby’s 
heroic image and the reputation of Russian foreign 
intelligence, however, the SVR has been careful not to 
release the record of Philby’s final weeks as head of the 
SIS station in the United States (the climax of his career 
as a Soviet spy), when money and instructions intended 
for Philby were mislaid, and he fell out with his 
incompetent controller who was subsequently recalled to 
Moscow in disgrace. Mitrokhin’s notes on those parts of 
the Philby file still considered by the SVR unsuitable for 
public consumption reveal this farcical episode for the 
first time.^^ 

The SVR has publicly denied even the existence of 
some of the files which it finds embarrassing. While 
writing a history of KGB-CIA rivalry in Berlin before the 
construction of the Wall, based partly on documents 
selected by the SVR, the Russian and American authors 
(one of them a former deputy head of the FCD) asked to 
see the file of the KGB agent Aleksandr Grigoryevich 
Kopatzky (alias Igor Orlov). The SVR replied that it had 
no record of any agent of that name. Its only record of 

“Igor Orlov” was, it claimed, of a visit made by him to the 
Soviet embassy in Washington in 1965, when he 
complained of FBI harassment and enquired about asylum 
in the USSR.^^ Though still officially an unperson in the 
SVR version of Russian intelligence history, Kopatzky 
was in reality one of the KGB’s most highly rated agents. 
His supposedly non-existent KGB file, noted by 
Mitrokhin, reveals that he had no fewer than twenty-three 

As well as initiating an unprecedented series of 
collaborative histories for publication in the West, the 
SVR has produced a number of less sophisticated works 
for the Russian market. In 1995, to mark the seventy-fifth 
anniversary of the foundation of the Soviet foreign 
intelligence service, of which it sees itself as the heir, the 
SVR published a volume on the careers of seventy-five 
intelligence officers — all, it appears, sans peur et sans 
reproche — which differs little from the uncritical 
hagiographies of the KGB era.^^ In 1995 the SVR also 
began the publication of a multi-volume official history of 
KGB foreign operations which by 1997 had reached the 
beginning of the Great Patriotic War.^^ Though a mine of 
mostly reliable factual information, it too presents a 
selective and sanitized view of Soviet intelligence history. 
It also preserves, in a mercifully diluted form, some of the 
traditional conspiracy theories of the KGB. The literary 
editor of the official history, Lolly Zamoysky, was 

formerly a senior FCD analyst, well known within the 
Centre and foreign residencies for his belief in a global 
Masonic-Zionist plot7^ In 1989 he published a volume 
grandly entitled Behind the Fagade of the Masonic 
Temple, which blamed the Freemasons for, inter alia, the 
outbreak of the Cold War 

The underlying rationale for the SVR’s selection of 
topics and documents for histories of past operations is to 
present Soviet foreign intelligence as a dedicated and 
highly professional service, performing much the same 
functions as its Western counterparts but, more often than 
not, winning the contest against them.^^ Even under 
Stalin, foreign intelligence is presented as the victim 
rather than the perpetrator of the Terror^^ — despite the 
fact that during the later 1930s hunting down “enemies of 
the people” abroad became its main priority Similarly, 
the SVR seeks to distance the foreign intelligence 
operations of the FCD during the Cold War from the 
abuse of human rights by the domestic KGB. In reality, 
however, the struggle against “ideological subversion” 
both at home and abroad was carefully coordinated. The 
KGB took a central role in the suppression of the 
Hungarian Uprising in 1956, the crushing of the Prague 
Spring in 1968, the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, and 
the pressure on the Polish regime to destroy Solidarity in 
1981. Closely linked to the persecution of dissidents 
within the Soviet Union were the FCD’s PROGRESS 

operations against dissidents in the rest of the Soviet Bloc 
and its constant harassment of those who had taken refuge 
in the West7^ By the mid-1970s the BCD’s war against 
ideological subversion extended even to operations 
against Western Communist leaders who were judged to 
have deviated from Moscow’s rigid Party line7^ 

On these and many other operations, Mitrokhin’s 
archive contains much material from KGB files which the 
SVR is still anxious to keep from public view. Unlike the 
documents selected for declassification by the SVR, none 
of which are more recent than the early 1960s, his archive 
covers almost the whole of the Cold War. Most of it is 
still highly classified in Moscow. The originals of some of 
the most important documents noted or transcribed by 
Mitrokhin may no longer exist. In 1989 most of the huge 
multi-volume file on the dissident Andrei Sakharov, 
earlier branded “Public Enemy Number One” by 
Andropov, was destroyed. Soon afterwards, Kryuchkov 
announced that all files on other dissidents charged under 
the infamous Article 70 of the criminal code (anti-Soviet 
agitation and propaganda) were being shredded. In a 
number of cases, Mitrokhin’s notes on them may now be 
all that survives. 

Vasili Mitrokhin has thus made it possible to extend 
what John Costello praised in 1993 as the “new precedent 
for openness and objectivity in the study of intelligence 
history” set by Kryuchkov and his SVR successors far 

beyond the limits any of them could have envisaged. 




For most of Mitrokhin’s career in the KGB, the history of 
its domestic operations was something of an 
embarrassment even to its own historians. During the late 
1930s the KGB (then known as the NKVD) had been the 
chief instrument of Stalin’s Great Terror, the greatest 
peacetime persecution in European history. The KGB 
officers club in the Lubyanka, its Moscow headquarters, 
lacked even the usual boardroom photographs of past 
chairmen; most were more suited to a chamber of horrors 
than to a hall of fame. Three had been shot after being 
found guilty of horrific crimes (some real, others 
imaginary): Genrikh Yagoda in 1938, Nikolai Yezhov in 
1940 and Lavrenti Beria in 1953. A fourth — Ivan Serov — 
blew his brains out in 1963. KGB historians in the post- 
Stalin era tended to take refuge from the blood-stained 
reality of their Stalinist past and homicidal former 
chairmen by returning to an earlier, mostly mythical, 
Leninist golden age of revolutionary purity. 

The KGB traced its origins to the foundation on 
December 20, 1917, six weeks after the Bolshevik 
Revolution, of the Cheka, the first Soviet security and 
intelligence agency. Throughout Mitrokhin’s career, KGB 
officers styled themselves Chekists (Chekisty) and were 
paid their salaries not on the first but on the twentieth of 
each month (“Chekists’ Day”) in honor of the Cheka’s 
birthday. The KGB also adopted the Cheka symbols of 
the sword and the shield: the shield to defend the 
revolution, the sword to smite its foes. Outside the 
Lubyanka, the KGB’s Moscow headquarters, stood a 
huge statue of the Polish-bom head of the Cheka, Feliks 
Dzerzhinsky, venerated in countless official 
hagiographies as the selfless, incormptible “Knight of the 
Revolution” who slew the dragon of counter-revolution 
which threatened the young Soviet state. He had been a 
professional revolutionary for over twenty years before 
the Revolution, spending eleven of those years in Tsarist 
prisons, penal servitude or exile. KGB training manuals 
quoted his description of the Chekist as a man with “a 
warm heart, a cool head and clean hands.” Like Lenin, he 
was an incormptible workaholic, prepared to sacrifice 
both himself and others in the defense of the Revolution. ^ 
In the headquarters of the KGB First Chief (Foreign 
Intelligence) Directorate at Yasenevo, the main object of 
veneration was a large bust of Dzerzhinsky on a marble 
pedestal constantly surrounded by fresh flowers. 

The KGB’s effusive public tributes to its saintly 

founding father concealed the degree to which 
Dzerzhinsky derived his intelligence tradecraft from the 
Cheka’s much smaller Tsarist predecessor, the Okhrana. 
The Bolsheviks had extensive first-hand experience of the 
Okhrana’ s expertise in the use of penetration agents and 
agents provocateurs. In July 1913 Lenin had discussed 
the difficult problem of Okhrana penetration with two of 
his chief lieutenants, Lev Kamenev and Grigori Zinovyev, 
and the leader of the Bolshevik deputies in the Duma, 
Roman Malinovsky. All were agreed that there must be an 
unidentified Okhrana agent in close contact with the 
Bolshevik deputies. The agent was in even closer contact 
than Lenin realized. It was Roman Malinovsky. After 
Okhrana files later revealed his identity, he was shot in 
the Kremlin gardens on the first anniversary of the 
Bolshevik Revolution.^ 

The Cheka’s success in penetrating its opponents 
derived in large part from its imitation of the techniques 
employed by Malinovsky and other Tsarist agents. Dmitri 
Gavrilovich Yevseyev, the author of two of the Cheka’s 
earliest operational manuals, Basic Tenets of Intelligence 
and Brief Instructions for the Cheka on How to Conduct 
Intelligence, based his writings on detailed study of 
Okhrana tradecraft. Though the Cheka was “an organ for 
building the dictatorship of the proletariat,” Yevseyev 
insisted — like Dzerzhinsky — that it must not hesitate to 
learn from the experience of “bourgeois” intelligence 

The Cheka’s early priorities were overwhelmingly 
domestic. Dzerzhinsky described it as “an organ for the 
revolutionary settlement of accounts with 
counterrevolutionaries,” ^ a label increasingly applied to 
all the Bolsheviks’ opponents and “class enemies.” 
Within days of its foundation, however, the Cheka had 
also taken its first tentative steps in foreign intelligence 
collection. The career of the first agent sent on a mission 
abroad, Aleksei Frolovich Filippov, was sadly at variance 
with the heroic image which KGB historians struggled to 
maintain in their descriptions of the Leninist era. Bom in 
1870 and trained as a lawyer, Filippov had made a career 
before the Revolution as a newspaper publisher. At the 
end of 1917 he was recmited by Dzerzhinsky to go on 
intelligence assignments to Finland under cover as a 
journalist and businessman. Before departing on his first 
mission in January 1918, Filippov gave a written 
undertaking “on a voluntary basis, without receiving 
payment, to pass on all the information which I hear in 
industrial, banking and particularly in conservative 
[nationalist] circles.”^ 

On January 4 Lenin publicly recognized the 
independence of Finland, formerly part of the Tsarist 
Empire, then immediately set about trying to subvert it. A 
putsch at the end of the month by Finnish Communists, 
supported by the Russian military and naval garrison in 
Helsinki, seized control of the capital and much of 
southern Finland. The Communists were quickly 

challenged by a defense corps of Finnish nationalists led 
by the former Tsarist officer General Karl Mannerheim.^ 
Filippov’s main Cheka assignment was to report on 
Mannerheim, his dealings with the Germans, and the 
mood of the sailors who had supported the putsch. Early 
in April 1918, however, German forces intervened in 
Finland, and by the end of the month both the Communist 
putsch and Filippov’s brief career as the first Soviet 
foreign agent were at an end.^ 

DURING THE CIVIL war, which began in May 1918 and 
continued for two and a half years, the Bolshevik regime 
had to fight for its survival against powerful but divided 
White Russian armies. Behind all the forces arraigned 
against them, the Bolshevik leaders saw a vast conspiracy 
orchestrated by Western capitalism. “What we are 
facing,” declared Lenin in July, “is a systematic, 
methodical and evidently long-planned military and 
financial counter-revolutionary campaign against the 
Soviet Republic, which all the representatives of Anglo- 
French imperialism have been preparing for months.”^ In 
reality, though the young Soviet regime had many 
enemies both at home and abroad, there was no carefully 
planned, well coordinated imperialist plot to bring it 
down. The illusion that such a plot existed, however, 
helped to shape the Cheka’s early operations against its 
imperialist foes. 

In the course of the civil war, the Cheka claimed to 

have uncovered and defeated a series of major 
conspiracies by Western governments and their 
intelligence agencies to overthrow the Bolshevik regime. 
The first such conspiracy in the summer of 1918 was the 
“envoys’ plot,” also known as the “Lockhart plot” (after 
its instigator, Robert Bruce Lockhart, a junior British 
diplomat). According to a KGB history published in 1979, 
“One could say without exaggeration that the shattering 
blow dealt by the Chekists to the conspirators was 
equivalent to victory in a major military battle.”^ That is 
what the Cheka had claimed in 1918 and what most of 
Mitrokhin’s colleagues continued to believe over half a 
century later. In reality, however, the “envoys’ plot” was 
mounted not by a coalition of capitalist governments but 
by a group of politically naive Western diplomats and 
adventurous secret agents who were left largely to their 
own devices during the chaotic early months of the 
Bolshevik regime and became involved in farcically inept 
attempts to overthrow it. The best-known of the secret 
agents was Sidney Reilly of the British Secret Intelligence 
Service (then known as Mile), whose exploits oscillated 
between high adventure and low farce, and whose 
increasing tendency to fantasy later led to his exclusion 
from SIS. Reilly announced his arrival in Moscow on 
May 7, 1918 in bizarre but characteristic fashion by 
marching up to the Kremlin gates, announcing that he was 
an emissary from the British prime minister, Lloyd 
George (who had probably never heard of him), and 

unsuccessfully demanding to see Lenin. 

By far the most sophisticated part of the “envoys’ plot” 
was devised not by the envoys themselves or their secret 
agents but by the Cheka, possibly at Lenin’s suggestion, 
as a trap for Western conspirators. In August 1918 the 
Cheka officer Yan Buikis, posing as an anti-Bolshevik 
conspirator named Shmidkhen, succeeded in persuading 
Lockhart, Reilly and the French consul-general that 
Colonel Eduard Berzin, commander of a Latvian regiment 
in the Kremlin (in reality a Cheka agent provocateur), 
was ready to lead an anti-Bolshevik rising. To finance 
Berzin’s proposed coup, Reilly gave him 1,200,000 
roubles which Berzin promptly passed on to the Cheka. 
Reilly’s schemes for the coup varied. At one point he 
imagined himself leading a detachment of Latvian troops 
on to the stage of the Bolshoi Theatre during the Congress 
of Soviets, seizing Lenin, Trotsky and other Bolshevik 
leaders, and shooting them on the spot. ^ ^ However, Reilly 
was also attracted by an alternative scheme not to execute 
Lenin and Trotsky, but instead to remove their trousers, 
parade them in their underpants through the streets of 
Moscow, and so “hold them up to ridicule before the 

Reilly’s fantasies however were overtaken by events. 
On August 30 the head of the Petrograd Cheka, Moisei 
Solomonovich Uritsky, was assassinated by a former 
member of the moderate Workers’ Popular Socialist 

Party, Leonid Kannegiser.^^ In an unrelated attack on the 
same day, Lenin was shot and seriously wounded by the 
Socialist Revolutionary, Fanya (Dora) Kaplan. “I shot 
Lenin because I believe him to be a traitor [to 
Socialism],” Kaplan told her Cheka interrogators.^^ In the 
aftermath of both shootings, Dzerzhinsky decided to wind 
up the “envoys’ plot,” which the Cheka itself had been 
largely responsible for orchestrating. On September 2 it 
was announced that the Cheka had “liquidated... the 
conspiracy organized by Anglo-French diplomats... to 
organize the capture of the Council of People’s 
Commissars and the proclamation of military dictatorship 
in Moscow; this was to be done by bribing Soviet troops.” 
Predictably, the statement made no mention of the fact 
that the plan to bribe Soviet troops and stage a military 
coup had been devised by the Cheka itself and that the 
diplomats had been drawn into the conspiracy by agents 
provocateurs relying on Okhrana tradecraft. On 
September 5 Dzerzhinsky and Zinovyev, the Petrograd 
Party boss, issued a further statement declaring that the 
Anglo-French conspirators had been the “organizers” of 
the attempt on Lenin’s life and the “real murderers” of 
Uritsky. Dzerzhinsky did not, however, reveal Reilly’s 
plan to remove Lenin’s and Trotsky’s trousers. Though 
happy to publicize, or invent. Western involvement in 
assassination plots against Lenin, the Cheka dared not 
disclose a plot to hold him up to ridicule. 

The attempt on Lenin’s life, the killing of Uritsky and 
the announcement of the “liquidation” of “the envoys’ 
plot” were quickly followed by the declaration of the Red 
Terror. With the Bolsheviks engaged in a bitter civil war 
against their White enemies, the Cheka set out to terrorize 
the regime’s opponents. Lenin himself, only three weeks 
before the attempt on his own life, had written to the 
Bolsheviks in Penza, and probably elsewhere, urging 
them to organize public executions to make the people 
“tremble” “for hundreds of kilometers around.” While 
still recovering from his wounds, he instructed, “It is 
necessary secretly — and urgently — to prepare the terror.” 

On October 15 Uritsky ’s successor in Petrograd, Gleb 
Ivanovich Boky, proudly reported to Moscow that 800 
alleged counterrevolutionaries had been shot and another 
6,229 imprisoned. Among those arrested, and probably 
executed, in Petrograd was the Cheka’s first foreign 
agent, Alexei Filippov. His liquidation was due, in all 
probability, not to the failure of his Finnish missions but 
to his “bourgeois” origins, which marked him down as an 
enemy of the people in the paranoid atmosphere of the 
Red Terror. Twenty years later Boky was himself to fall 
victim to the even greater paranoia of Stalin’s Terror. 

Berzin and Buikis, the Cheka agents provocateurs who 
had helped orchestrate the “envoys’ plot,” subsequently 
became victims of their own deception. Berzin’s career 
initially prospered. He was awarded the Order of the Red 

Banner for his role as agent provocateur, joined the 
Cheka and later became head of a forced labor camp in 
the Kolyma goldfields which had one of the highest death 
rates in Stalin’s gulag. In 1937, however, he was arrested 
and shot as an enemy of the people. The exact charges 
leveled against Berzin are not known, but it is likely that 
they included accusations that he had actually 
collaborated with Western plotters in 1918. In the 
somewhat paranoid Stalinist interpretation of the “envoys’ 
plot,” his collaborator Buikis (alias “Shmidkhen”) was 
portrayed as a covert counter-revolutionary rather than a 
Cheka officer carrying out his orders. That remained the 
accepted interpretation even in classified KGB histories 
during Mitrokhin’s early career. Buikis survived the 
Terror only by concealing his identity. Not until the mid- 
1960s did research in the KGB archives reestablish 
“Shmidkhen’s” true identity and his real role in 1918.^^ 
Throughout Mitrokhin’s career, KGB historians 
continued to interpret all plots and attacks against the 
young Soviet regime as “manifestations of a unified 
conspiracy” by its class enemies at home and the 
“imperialist powers” abroad.^ ^ The reality was very 
different. Had there been “a unified conspiracy,” the 
regime would surely have lost the civil war. If two or 
three divisions of Western troops had landed in the Gulf 
of Finland in 1919, they could probably have forced their 
way to Moscow and overthrown the Bolsheviks. But in 

the aftermath of the First World War not even two or 
three divisions could be found. Those American, British, 
French and Japanese troops who intervened against the 
Red Army served mainly to discredit the White cause and 
thus actually to assist the Bolsheviks. They were too few 
to affect the military outcome of the civil war but quite 
sufficient to allow the Bolsheviks to brand their 
opponents as the tools of Western imperialism. Most 
Bolsheviks were, in any case, sincerely convinced that 
during the civil war they had faced a determined 
onslaught from the full might of Western capitalism. That 
illusion continued to color Soviet attitudes to the West 
throughout, and even beyond, the Stalin era. 

THE CHEKA’S INTELLIGENCE operations both at 
home and abroad were profoundly influenced not merely 
by the legacy of the Okhrana but also by the Bolsheviks’ 
own pre-Revolutionary experience as a largely illegal 
clandestine underground. Many of the Bolshevik 
leadership had become so used to living under false 
identities before 1917 that they retained their aliases even 
after the Revolution: among them the Russian nobleman 
Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov,^^ who kept the pseudonym 
Lenin, and the Georgian Joseph Vissarionovich 
Dzhugashvili, who continued to be known as Stalin. Both 
Lenin and Stalin retained many of the habits of mind 
developed during their underground existence. On highly 
sensitive matters Lenin would insist no copy be made of 

his instructions and that the original either be returned to 
him for destruction or destroyed by the recipient. Happily 
for the historian, his instructions were not always carried 

Stalin continued to doctor his own pre-Revolutionary 
record during the 1920s, changing even the day and year 
of his birth; the correct date (December 6, 1878) was not 
made public until 1996.^^ During a visit to the secret 
section of the Moscow Main Archives Directorate 
(Glavarkhiv), Mitrokhin was once shown an Okhrana file 
on Dzhugashvili. The file cover and title followed 
standard Okhrana format, but, on looking inside, 
Mitrokhin discovered that the contents had been entirely 
removed. The probability is that the Okhrana had 
compromising materials on the young Dzhugashvili, and 
that at the first opportunity Stalin arranged for the file to 
be gutted. In typical Soviet bureaucratic fashion, however, 
the cover was preserved since the existence of the file was 
indelibly recorded in the secret registers. Mitrokhin 
suspects that whoever emptied the file, presumably on 
Stalin’s instructions, was later eliminated to preserve the 
dark secret of its missing contents. What Stalin was 
most anxious to destroy may well have been evidence that 
he had been an Okhrana informer. Though it falls well 
short of conclusive proof, a possible trace of that evidence 
still survives. According to reports from an Okhrana agent 
discovered in the State Archive of the Russian Federation, 

Baku Bolsheviks before the First World War “confronted 
Dzhugashvili- Stalin with the accusation that he was a 
provocateur and an agent of the Security Police. And that 
he had embezzled Party funds. 

From almost the beginning of the civil war in 1918, in 
keeping with the Bolshevik tradition of operating under 
false identities, the Cheka began sending officers and 
agents under various disguises and pseudonyms behind 
enemy lines to gather intelligence. By June 1919 the 
number of these “illegals” was sufficiently large to 
require the foundation of an illegals operations 
department (later to become Directorate S of the KGB 
First Chief Directorate).^^ KGB classified histories note 
that henceforth “illegal” operations became “an 
inseparable part of foreign intelligence.” On December 
20, 1920, the third anniversary of the Cheka’s foundation, 
a new foreign department (Innostranyi Otdel or INO) was 
set up to direct all operations beyond Soviet borders. 
During the early years of Soviet Russia, when the 
Communist regime remained an international pariah, it 
had few official missions abroad capable of providing 
official cover for “legal” intelligence stations 
(“residencies” in Cheka jargon) and thus relied chiefly on 
illegals. As diplomatic and trade missions were 
established in foreign capitals, each was given a “legal 
residency” headed by a “residenf’ whose identity was 
officially communicated only to the ambassador or head 
of the mission. Illegals, sometimes grouped in “illegal 

residencies,” operated without the benefit of diplomatic or 
official cover and reported directly to INO in Moscow.^^ 

During the civil war of 1918-20, foreign intelligence 
collection was of minor importance by comparison with 
the Cheka’s role in assisting the victory of the Red Army 
over its White enemies. Like the KGB later, the Cheka 
liked to quantify its successes. In the autumn of 1919, 
probably the turning point in the civil war, it proudly 
claimed that during the first nineteen months of its 
existence it had discovered and neutralized “412 
underground anti-Soviet organizations.”^^ The Cheka’s 
most effective method of dealing with opposition was 
terror. Though its liking of quantification did not extend 
to calculating the number of its victims, it is clear that the 
Cheka enormously outstripped the Okhrana in both the 
scale and the ferocity of its onslaught on political 
opposition. In 1901, 4,113 Russians were in internal exile 
for political crimes, of whom only 180 were on hard 
labor. Executions for political crimes were limited to 
those involved in actual or attempted assassinations. 
During the civil war, by contrast, Cheka executions 
probably numbered as many as 250,000, and may well 
have exceeded the number of deaths in battle. 

At the time of the October Revolution, it had never 
occurred to Lenin that he and the Bolshevik leadership 
would be responsible for the rebirth of the Okhrana in a 
new and far more terrible form. In The State and 

Revolution, which he had almost completed in the 
summer of 1917, he had claimed that there would be no 
need for a police force, let alone a political police, after 
the Revolution. Though it would be necessary to arrange 
for “the suppression of the minority of exploiters by the 
majority of wage slaves of yesterday,” such suppression 
would be “comparatively easy.” The “proletarian 
dictatorship” which would preside over the rapid 
destruction of the bourgeois order would require a 
minimum of rules, regulation and bureaucracy. Lenin had 
never foreseen the possibility of mass opposition to a 
revolution carried out in the name of the people.^ ^ But, 
once in power, he used whatever methods were necessary 
to retain it, claiming always that the Bolsheviks were 
defending “the people’s power” and refusing to accept the 
reality that he had made himself the infallible leader 
(Vozhd) of the world’s first one-party state. 

the Lubyanka in the closing years of the Soviet era to 
commemorate “the victims of totalitarian repression” 
consists of a large block of granite taken not from Stalin’s 
gulag but from a concentration camp established by Lenin 
on the shores of the White Sea in the autumn of 1918. 
Many Chekists regarded brutality against their class 
enemies as a revolutionary virtue. According to a report 
from the Cheka in Morshansk: 

He who fights for a better future will be merciless 
towards his enemies. He who seeks to protect poor 
people will harden his heart against pity and will 
become cruel. 

Even at a time when the Soviet regime was fighting for its 
survival during the civil war, many of its own supporters 
were sickened by the scale of the Cheka’s brutality. A 
number of Cheka interrogators, some only in their teens,^^ 
employed tortures of scarcely believable barbarity. In 
Kharkhov the skin was peeled off victims’ hands to 
produce “gloves” of human skin; in Voronezh naked 
prisoners were rolled around in barrels studded with nails; 
in Poltava priests were impaled; in Odessa, captured 
White officers were tied to planks and fed slowly into 
furnaces; in Kiev cages of rats were fixed to prisoners’ 
bodies and heated until the rats gnawed their way into the 
victims’ intestines. 

Though Lenin did not approve of such sadism, he was 
content to leave “excesses” to be corrected by 
Dzerzhinsky. Brushing aside complaints of Cheka 
brutality, he paid fulsome tribute to its role in helping to 
win the civil war. The Cheka, he claimed, had proved a 
“devastating weapon against countless conspiracies and 
countless attempts against Soviet power by people who 
are infinitely stronger than us”: 

Gentlemen capitalists of Russia and abroad! We 

know that it is not possible for you to love this 
establishment. Indeed, it is not! [The Cheka] has 
been able to counter your intrigues and your 
machinations as no one else could have done when 
you were smothering us, when you had surrounded 
us with invaders, and when you were organizing 
internal conspiracies and would stop at no crime in 
order to wreck our peaceful work.^^ 

Some of the most secret documents in Dzerzhinsky’s 
archive carry a note that only ten copies were to be made: 
one for Lenin, the rest for Cheka department chiefs. 
Lenin’s absorption in the affairs of the Cheka extended 
even to operational detail. He sent Dzerzhinsky advice on 
how to carry out searches and conduct surveillance, and 
instructed him that arrests were best carried out at night. 
Lenin also took a somewhat naive interest in the 
application of new technology to the hunt for 
counterrevolutionaries, telling Dzerzhinsky to construct a 
large electromagnet capable of detecting hidden weapons 
in house-to-house searches. Though the experiment was 
tried and failed, Dzerzhinsky had some difficulty in 
persuading Lenin that, “Magnets are not much use in 

Far more important than Lenin’s sometimes eccentric 
interest in intelligence techniques and technology was his 
belief in the central importance of the Cheka to the 

defense of the Bolshevik one-party state against 
imperialism and counter-revolution. The extent of Lenin’s 
and Dzerzhinsky’s fear of imperialist subversion is well 
illustrated by their deep suspicion of the aid which they 
felt forced to accept in August 1921 from the American 
Relief Association (ARA) to feed millions of starving 
Soviet citizens. Lenin was convinced that the ARA was a 
front for United States intelligence, and ordered the 
closest surveillance of all its members. Once the ARA 
began work, he was equally convinced that it was using 
food as an instrument of subversion. He complained to 
Dzerzhinsky’s deputy, Iosif Stanislavovich Unshlikht, 
that foreign agents were “engaged in massive bribery oj 
hungry and tattered Chekists [Lenin’s emphasis]. The 
danger here is extremely great.” Lenin insisted that urgent 
steps be taken to “feed and clothe the Chekists” in order 
to remove them from imperialist temptation. 

Though the United States still had no peacetime 
espionage agency, the Cheka reported that over 200 of the 
300 ARA staff, who were devoting all their energies to 
dealing with one of the most terrible famines in modem 
European history, were in reality undercover intelligence 
officers who “could become first-class instmctors for a 
counter-revolutionary uprising.” The Cheka also alleged 
that the ARA was building up a large food supply in 
Vienna so that “in the event of a coup [it] could provide 
immediate support to the White government. Lenin 
was far more exercised by the ARA’s non-existent 

intelligence operations than by the approximately five 
million Russians and Ukrainians who starved to death. 
Without the massive aid program of the ARA, which in 
1922 was feeding up to eleven million people a day, the 
famine would have been far worse. Even after the ARA 
had departed, however, Soviet intelligence remained 
convinced that it had been, first and foremost, an 
espionage rather than a humanitarian agency. A quarter of 
a century later, all surviving Russian employees of ARA 
were made to sign confessions that they had been 
American spies. 

The priorities of Soviet intelligence under Lenin, and 
still more under Stalin, continued to be shaped by greatly 
exaggerated beliefs in an unrelenting conspiracy by 
Western governments and their intelligence agencies. To 
understand Soviet intelligence operations between the 
wars, it is frequently necessary to enter a world of smoke 
and mirrors where the target is as much the product of 
Bolshevik delusions as of real counter-revolutionary 
conspiracy. The Soviet propensity to conspiracy theory 
derived both from the nature of the one-party state and 
from its Marxist-Leninist ideology. All authoritarian 
regimes, since they regard opposition as fundamentally 
illegitimate, tend to see their opponents as engaged in 
subversive conspiracy. Bolshevik ideology further 
dictated that capitalist regimes could not fail to be plotting 
the overthrow of the world’s first and only worker- 
peasant state. If they were not visibly preparing an armed 

invasion, then their intelligence agencies must necessarily 
be secretly conspiring to subvert Soviet Russia from 

INO’S FIRST TWO heads served between them for a 
total of barely eighteen months. The first foreign 
intelligence chief to make his mark was Mikhail 
Abramovich Trilisser, appointed as head of INO in 1922 
— ^undoubtedly with Lenin’s personal approval. Trilisser 
was a Russian Jew who had become a professional 
revolutionary in 1901 at the age of only eighteen. Like 
Dzerzhinsky, he had spent much of his early career in 
exile or in Tsarist prisons. Before the First World War, he 
had specialized in tracking down police spies among 
Bolshevik emigres. While serving with the Cheka in 
1918, he was reputed to have been caught by “bandits” 
and hung from a tree, but to have been cut down just in 
time by Red forces who successfully revived him. Unlike 
any of his successors, Trilisser sometimes traveled abroad 
to meet INO agents. At least until Lenin was 
incapacitated by his third stroke in March 1923, he 
continued to take an active, though sometimes ill- 
informed, interest, in INO reports. He noted, for example, 
that somewhat inaccurate information received in 1922 
from one of the Cheka’s few early British sources, the 
journalist Arthur Ransome (later famous as a children’s 
novelist), was “very important and, probably, 
fundamentally true.”^^ 

The early priorities of INO foreign operations, 
approved by Lenin, were: 

the identification, on the territory of each state, of 

counter-revolutionary groups operating against the 

Russian Socialist Federal Soviet Republic; 

the thorough study of all organizations engaged in 

espionage against our country; 

the elucidation of the political course of each state 

and its economic situation; 

the acquisition of documentary material on all the 
above requirements.^^ 

The “counter-revolutionary groups” which were of most 
immediate concern to Lenin and the Cheka after the civil 
war were the remnants of the defeated White armies and 
the Ukrainian nationalists. After the last White forces left 
Russian soil late in 1920, they stood no realistic chance of 
mounting another serious challenge to Bolshevik rule. 
That, however, was not Lenin’s view. “A beaten army,” 
he declared, “learns much.” He estimated that there were 
one and a half to two million anti-Bolshevik Russian 

We can observe them all working together 
irrespective of their former political parties... They 
are skillfully taking advantage of every opportunity 
in order, in one way or another, to attack Soviet 

Russia and smash her to pieces ... These counter- 
revolutionary emigres are very well informed, 
excellently organized and good strategists.^^ 

In the early and mid- 1920s INO’s chief target thus 
became the emigre White Guards, based mainly in Berlin, 
Paris and Warsaw, who continued to plot — far less 
effectively than Lenin supposed — the overthrow of the 
Bolshevik regime. 

The other “counter-revolutionary” threat which most 
concerned Lenin and the Bolshevik leadership came from 
Ukrainian nationalists, who had fought both Red and 
White forces in an attempt to win their independence. In 
the winter of 1920 and the spring of 1921 the entire 
Ukrainian countryside was in revolt against Bolshevik 
rule. Even after the brutal “pacification” of Ukraine by the 
Red Army and the Cheka, partisan groups who had taken 
refuge in Poland and Romania continued to make cross- 
border raids.^^ In the spring of 1922 the Ukrainian GPU 
received intelligence reports that Simon Petlyura’s 
Ukrainian govemment-in-exile had established a “partisan 
headquarters” under General Yurko Tutyunnik which was 
sending secret emissaries to the Ukraine to establish a 
nationalist underground.^^ 

The GPU was ordered not merely to collect intelligence 
on the emigre White Guards and Ukrainian nationalists 
but also to penetrate and destabilize them.^^ Its strategy 

was the same against both opponents — to establish bogus 
anti-Bolshevik undergrounds under GPU control which 
could be used to lure General Tutyunnik and the leading 
White generals back across the frontier. 

The first step in enticing Tutyunnik back to Ukraine (an 
operation codenamed CASE 39) was the capture of 
Zayamy, one of his “special duties” officers, who was 
caught crossing the frontier in 1922. Zayamy was 
successfully turned back by the GPU and sent to 
Tutyunnik’ s headquarters with bogus reports that an 
underground Supreme Military Council (Vysshaya 
Voyskovaya Rada or VVR) had been established in 
Ukraine and was anxious to set up an operational 
headquarters under Tutyunnik’ s leadership to wage war 
against the Bolsheviks. Tutyunnik was too cautious to 
return immediately but sent several emissaries who 
attended stage-managed meetings of the VVR, at which 
GPU officers disguised as Ukrainian nationalists reported 
the rapid growth of underground opposition to Bolshevik 
mle and agreed on the urgent need for Tutyunnik’ s 
leadership. Like Zayamy, one of the emissaries, Pyotr 
Stakhov, a close associate of Tutyunnik, was recmited by 
the GPU and used as a double agent. 

Attempts to persuade Tutyunnik himself to return to 
Ukraine finally succeeded on June 26, 1923.^^ Tutyunnik, 
with his bodyguard and aides, arrived at a remote hamlet 
on the Romanian bank of the river Dniester, where 
Zayamy met him with the news that the VVR and Pyotr 

Stakhov were waiting on the other side. At 1 1 p.m. a light 
from the Ukrainian bank signaled that it was safe for 
Tutyunnik and his entourage to cross the river. Still 
cautious, Tutyunnik sent his bodyguard to make sure that 
no trap had been laid for him. Stakhov returned with the 
bodyguard to reassure him. According to an OGPU 
report, Tutyunnik told him, “Pyotr, I know you and you 
know me. We won’t fool each other. The VVR is a 
fiction, isn’t it?” “That is impossible,” Stakhov replied. “I 
know them all, particularly those who are with me 
[today]. You know you can rely on me...” Tutyunnik got 
into the boat with Stakhov and crossed the Dniester. Once 
he was in the hands of the OGPU, letters written by 
Tutyunnik or in his name were sent to prominent 
Ukrainian nationalists abroad saying that their struggle 
was hopeless and that he had aligned himself irrevocably 
with the Soviet cause. He was executed six years later.^^ 

OPERATIONS AGAINST THE White Guards resembled 
those against Ukrainian nationalists. In 1922 the Berlin 
residency recruited the former Tsarist General Zelenin as 
a penetration agent within the emigre community. A later 
OGPU report claimed, possibly with some exaggeration, 
that Zelenin had engineered “a huge schism within the 
ranks of the Whites” and had caused a large number of 
officers to break away from Baron Peter Wrangel, the last 
of the White generals to be defeated in the civil war. 
Other OGPU moles praised for their work in disrupting 

the White Guards included General Zaitsev, former chief 
of staff to the Cossack Ataman A. 1. Dutov, and the ex- 
Tsarist General Yakhontov, who emigrated to the United 
States.^ ^ 

The OGPU’s greatest successes against the White 
Guards, however, were two elaborate deception 
operations, codenamed SINDIKAT (“Syndicate”) and 
TREST (“Trusf ’), both of which made imaginative use of 
agents provocateurs.^^ SINDIKAT was targeted against 
the man believed to be the most dangerous of all the 
White Guards: Boris Savinkov, a former Socialist 
Revolutionary terrorist who had served as deputy minister 
of war in the provisional government overthrown in the 
Bolshevik Revolution. Winston Churchill, among others, 
was captivated by his anti-Bolshevik fervor. “When all is 
said and done,” Churchill wrote later, “and with all the 
stains and tarnishes there be, few men tried more, gave 
more, dared more and suffered more for the Russian 
people.” During the Russo-Polish War of 1920, Savinkov 
was largely responsible for recruiting the Russian 
People’s Army which fought under Polish command 
against the Red Army. Early in 1921 he founded a new 
organization in Warsaw dedicated to the overthrow of the 
Bolshevik regime: the People’s Union for Defence of 
Country and Freedom (NSZRiS), which ran an agent 
network inside Soviet Russia to collect intelligence on the 
Bolsheviks and plan uprisings against the regime. 

The first stage of the operation against Savinkov, 

SINDIKAT-1, successfully neutralized the NSZRiS agent 
network with the help of a Cheka mole within his 
organization. Forty-four leading members of the NSZRiS 
were paraded at a show trial in Moscow in August 1921.^^ 
SINDIKAT-2 was aimed at luring Savinkov back to 
Russia to star in a further show trial and complete the 
demoralization of his emigre supporters. Classified KGB 
histories give the main credit for the operation to the head 
of the OGPU counter-intelligence department, Artur 
Khristyanovich Artuzov (later head of INO), the Russian 
son of an immigrant Swiss-Italian cheesemaker, assisted 
by Andrei Pavlovich Fyodorov and Grigori Sergeyevich 
Syroyezhkin.^^ Though SINDIKAT-2 made skillful use of 
agents provocateurs, however, KGB records fail to 
acknowledge how much they were assisted by Savinkov’ s 
own increasing tendency to fantasize. During a visit to 
London late in 1921 he claimed improbably that the head 
of the Russian trade delegation had suggested that he join 
the Soviet government. Savinkov also alleged that Lloyd 
George and his family had welcomed him at Chequers by 
singing “God Save the Tsar”; in reality, the song was a 
hymn sung in Welsh by a Welsh choir at a pre-Christmas 
celebration. In July 1923 Fedorov, posing as a member of 
an anti-Bolshevik underground, visited Savinkov in Paris, 
where he had installed his headquarters after the collapse 
of the NSZRiS, and persuaded him to send his aide. 
Colonel Sergei Pavlovsky, back to Russia with Fedorov 
for secret talks with the non-existent underground. Once 

in Moscow, Pavlovsky was turned in by the OGPU and 
used to lure Savinkov himself to Russia for further talks. 
On August 15 Savinkov crossed the Russian border with 
some of his supporters and walked straight into an OGPU 
trap. Under OGPU interrogation Savinkov’ s resistance 
swiftly collapsed. At a show trial on August 27 Savinkov 
made an abject confession of his counter-revolutionary 

I unconditionally recognize Soviet power and no 
other. To every Russian who loves his country I, 
who have traversed the entire road of this bloody, 
heavy struggle against you, I who refuted you as no 
one else did, I tell you that if you are a Russian, if 
you love your people, you will bow down to worker- 
peasant power and recognize it without any 

The deception of Savinkov continued even after he was 
sentenced to fifteen years in jail. He failed to realize that 
his cellmate, V. I. Speransky, was an OGPU officer, later 
promoted for his success in gaining Savinkov’ s 
confidence and surreptitiously debriefing him over a 
period of eight months. Savinkov did not long survive 
Speransky ’s final report on him. KGB files appear to 
contain no contemporary record of how he met his death. 
According to the SVR’s implausible current version of 
events, Savinkov fell or jumped from an upper-story 

window after a congenial “drinking bout with a group of 
Chekists” — despite a heroic attempt to save him by 
Grigori Syroyezhkin.^^ It seems more likely that 
Syroyezhkin pushed him to his death.^^ 

Even more successful than SINDIKAT was operation 
TREST, the cover name given to a fictitious monarchist 
underground, the Monarchist Association of Central 
Russia (MOR), first invented by Artuzov in 1921 and 
used as the basis of a six-year deception.^^ By 1923 the 
OGPU officer Aleksandr Yakushev, posing as a secret 
MOR member able to travel abroad in his official capacity 
as a Soviet foreign trade representative, had won the 
confidence during visits to Paris of both Grand Duke 
Nikolai Nikolayevich, cousin of the late Tsar Nicholas II, 
and General Aleksandr Kutepov of the [White] Russian 
Combined Services Union (ROVS). The leading victim of 
the deception, however, was the former SIS agent Sidney 
Reilly, an even greater fantasist than Savinkov. Reilly had 
become a tragicomic figure whose hold on reality was 
increasingly uncertain. According to one of his 
secretaries, Eleanor Toye, “Reilly used to suffer from 
severe mental crises amounting to delusion. Once he 
thought he was Jesus Christ.” The OGPU, however, failed 
to grasp that Reilly was now of little significance, 
regarding him instead as a British masterspy and one of 
its most dangerous opponents. On September 26, 1925 it 
succeeded in luring him, like Savinkov a year before. 

across the Russian frontier to a meeting with bogus MOR 

Reilly’s resistance after his arrest did not last much 
longer than Savinkov’s. His KGB file contains a letter, 
probably authentic, to Dzerzhinsky dated October 30, 
1925, in which he promised to reveal all he knew about 
British and American intelligence as well as Russian 
emigres in the West. Six days later Reilly was taken for a 
walk in the woods near Moscow and, without warning, 
shot from behind. According to an OGPU report, he “let 
out a deep breath and fell without a cry.” Among those 
who accompanied him on his final walk in the woods was 
Grigori Syroyezhkin, the probable assassin of Savinkov a 
year earlier. Reilly’s corpse was put on private display in 
the Lubyanka sickbay to allow OGPU officers to 
celebrate their triumph.^ ^ Appropriately for a career in 
which myth and reality had become inextricably 
confused, rumors circulated for many years in the West 
that Reilly had escaped execution and adopted a new 
identity. The TREST deception was finally exposed in 
1927, to the embarrassment of the intelligence services of 
Britain, France, Poland, Finland and the Baltic states who 
had all, in varying degrees, been taken in by it.^^ 

AS WEFF AS engaging in permanent conflict with 
counter-revolution, both real and imagined, Soviet 
intelligence between the wars also became increasingly 

successful in penetrating the main imperialist powers. It 
had two major operational advantages over Western 
intelligence agencies. First, while security in Moscow 
became obsessional, much Western security remained 
feeble. Secondly, the Communist parties and their “fellow 
travelers” in the West gave Soviet intelligence a major 
source of ideological recruits of which it took increasing 

While operation TREST was at its height, INO, the 
OGPU’s foreign intelligence service, succeeded in 
making its first major penetration of the British foreign 
service. The penetration agent was an Italian messenger in 
the British embassy in Rome, Francesco Constantini 
(codenamed DUNCAN), who was recruited in 1924 by 
the OGPU residency with the help of an Italian 
Communist, Alfredo Allegretti, who had worked as a 
Russian embassy clerk before the Revolution. Despite his 
lowly status, Constantini had access to a remarkable range 
of diplomatic secrets. Until the Second World War, the 
Foreign Office did not possess a single security officer, let 
alone a security department. Security in many British 
embassies was remarkably lax. In Rome, according to Sir 
Andrew Noble, who was stationed at the embassy in the 
mid- 1930s, it was “virtually non-existent.” Embassy 
servants had access to the keys to red boxes and filing 
cabinets containing classified documents, as well as — 
probably — the number of the combination lock on the 
embassy safe. Even when two copies of a diplomatic 

cipher were missing in 1925, it did not occur to British 
diplomats that they might have been removed by 
Constantini — as they almost certainly were.^^ 

For more than a decade Francesco Constantini handed 
over a great variety of diplomatic documents and cipher 
material. Probably from an early stage he also involved 
his brother, Secondo, who worked as an embassy servant, 
in the theft of documents. In addition to despatches on 
Anglo-Italian relations exchanged between London and 
the Rome embassy, Constantini was often able to supply 
the “confidential print” of selected documents from the 
Foreign Office and major British missions designed to 
give ambassadors an overview of current foreign policy. 
By January 1925 he was providing, on average, 150 pages 
of classified material a week. Constantini made no secret 
of his motives. The Rome residency reported to the 
Centre, “He collaborates with us exclusively for money, 
and does not conceal the fact. He has set himself the goal 
of becoming a rich man, and that is what he strives for.” 
In 1925 the Centre pronounced Constantini its most 
valuable agent. Convinced of a vast, nonexistent British 
plot to destroy the Soviet state, it counted on agent 
DUNCAN to provide early warning of a British attack, 
and instructed the Rome residency: 

England is now the organizing force behind a 
probable attack on the USSR in the near future. A 
continuous hostile cordon [of states] is being formed 

against us in the West. In the East, in Persia, 
Afghanistan and China we observe a similar picture 
... Your task (and consider it a priority) is to provide 
documentary and agent materials which reveal the 
details of the English plan. 

The Rome residency’s pride in running the OGPU’s 
leading agent is reflected in its flattering descriptions of 
him. Constantini was said to have the face of “an ancient 
Roman,” and to be known to his many female admirers as 
“the handsome one.”^^ By 1928 the OGPU suspected him 
— accurately — of also supplying documents to Italian 
intelligence. Despite suspicions about Constantini ’s 
honesty, however, there was no mistaking the importance 
of the material he supplied. Maksim Litvinov, who by the 
late 1920s was the dominating figure in the People’s 
Commissariat for Foreign Affairs, pronounced it “of great 
use to me.”^^ 

THE OGPU’S FIRST successful penetration of the 
British foreign service was overshadowed in 1927 by an 
embarrassing series of well-publicized intelligence 
failures. The security of the rapidly expanding foreign 
network of OGPU and Fourth Department (Military 
Intelligence) residencies was threatened by the 
vulnerability of early Soviet cipher systems to Western 
cryptanalysts, by the inexperience of some of the first 
generation of INO officers, and by errors in the selection 

and training of foreign Communists as agents. The 
International Liaison Department (OMS) of the 
Communist International provided a ready pool of 
enthusiastic volunteers for Soviet intelligence operations. 
Some, such as the German Richard Sorge, were to be 
numbered among the greatest spies of the century. Others 
ignored orthodox tradecraft and neglected standard 
security procedures. 

In the spring of 1927 there were dramatic revelations of 
Soviet espionage in eight different countries. In March a 
major OGPU spy ring was uncovered in Poland; a Soviet 
trade official was arrested for espionage in Turkey; and 
the Swiss police announced the arrest of two Russian 
spies. In April a police raid on the Soviet consulate in 
Beijing uncovered a mass of incriminating intelligence 
documents; and the French Surete, arrested members of a 
Soviet spy ring in Paris run by Jean Cremet, a leading 
French Communist. In May Austrian foreign ministry 
officials were found passing classified information to the 
OGPU residency, and the British Home Secretary 
indignantly announced to the House of Commons the 
discovery of “one of the most complete and one of the 
most nefarious spy systems that it has ever been my lot to 

Following this last discovery, Britain — still regarded in 
the Soviet Union as the leading world power and its most 
dangerous enemy — formally broke off diplomatic 
relations, and senior ministers read out to the Commons 

decrypted extracts from intercepted Soviet telegrams. To 
tighten the security of Soviet diplomatic and OGPU 
communications after the dramatic revelation of British 
codebreaking successes, the laborious but virtually 
unbreakable “one-time pad” cipher system was 
introduced. As a result, Western cryptanalysts were able 
to decrypt almost no further high-grade Soviet 
communications until after the Second World War.^^ 

THE MOST WORRYSOME as well as the most plentiful 
foreign intelligence in 1927 concerned Japan. Since 1925 
INO had been able to intercept the secret communications 
of both Japan’s military mission and its consulate-general 
in the northeast Chinese city of Harbin. Remarkably, 
instead of using diplomatic bags and their own couriers, 
Japanese official representatives in Harbin corresponded 
with Tokyo via the Chinese postal service. The OGPU 
recruited the Chinese employees who were used to take 
Japanese official despatches to the Harbin post office, and 
sent expert teams of letter-openers to examine and 
photograph the despatches, before sending them on their 
way in new envelopes with copies of Japanese seals. 
Professor Matsokin, a Japanese specialist from 
Moscow,^^ was employed by INO in Harbin to peruse the 
despatches and send translations of the most important 
promptly to the Centre. There was ample evidence in the 
intercepts forwarded to Moscow of designs by the 
Japanese military on China and the Soviet Far East. But 

the most troubling document, intercepted in July 1927, 
was a secret memorandum written by Baron Gi-ishi 
Tanaka, the Japanese prime minister and foreign minister, 
which advocated the conquest of Manchuria and 
Mongolia as a prelude to Japanese domination over the 
whole of China, and predicted that Japan “would once 
again have to cross swords with Russia.”^ ^ 

A second copy of the memorandum was obtained in 
Japanese-occupied Korea by the residency at Seoul, 
headed by Ivan Andreevich Chichayev (later wartime 
resident in London). A Japanese interpreter, codenamed 
ANO, recruited by the INO residency, succeeded in 
extracting the document, along with other secret material, 
from the safe of the Japanese police chief in Seoul. A 
copy of the Tanaka memorandum was later leaked by 
INO to the American press to give the impression that it 
had been obtained by an agent working for the United 
States. As recently as 1997 an SVR official history 
continued to celebrate the simultaneous acquisition of the 
memorandum in Harbin and Seoul as “an absolutely 
unique occurrence in intelligence operations. Though 
somewhat exaggerated, this judgment accurately reflects 
the enormous importance attached at the time to the 
discovery of Tanaka’s prediction of war with Russia. 

The acute anxiety in Moscow caused by the breach of 
diplomatic relations with Britain and the apparent threat 
from Japan was clearly reflected in an alarmist article by 

Stalin, published a few days after he received the Tanaka 

IT IS HARDLY open to doubt that the chief 
contemporary question is that of the threat of a new 
imperialist war. It is not a question of some 
indefinite and immaterial “danger” of a new war. It 
is a matter of a real and material threat of a new war 
in general, and war against the USSR in particular.^^ 

The fact that Constantini had failed to provide anything 
remotely resembling a British version of the Tanaka 
memorandum did not lead either Stalin or the conspiracy 
theorists of the Centre to conclude that Britain had no 
plans to attack the Soviet Union. They believed instead 
that greater efforts were required to penetrate the secret 
councils of the Western warmongers. Stalin, who had 
emerged as the clear victor in the three-year power 
struggle which followed Lenin’s death, demanded more 
intelligence on the (mostly imaginary) Western plots 
against the Soviet Union which he was sure existed. 

In an effort to make Soviet espionage less detectable 
and more deniable, the main responsibility for intelligence 
collection was shifted from “legal” to “illegal” 
residencies, which operated independently of Soviet 
diplomatic and trade missions. In later years the 
establishment of a new illegal residency became an 
immensely timeconsuming operation which involved 

years of detailed training and the painstaking construction 
of “legends” to give the illegals false identities. The 
largely improvised attempt to expand the illegal network 
rapidly in the late 1920s and early 1930s, without the 
detailed preparation which later became mandatory, 
brought into OGPU foreign operations both 
unconventional talent and a number of confidence 
tricksters. Among the secret scandals discovered by 
Mitrokhin in KGB files was that of the illegal residency 
established in Berlin in 1927 with the Austrian Bertold 
Karl Ilk as resident and Moritz Weinstein as his deputy. A 
later investigation concluded that the Centre should have 
noted the “suspicious speed” with which the Ilk- 
Weinstein residency claimed to be expanding its agent 
network. Within two months it was reporting operations 
in Britain, France and Poland as well as in Germany. Ilk 
refused to provide more than sketchy information on his 
agents’ identity on security grounds. His failure to supply 
detailed biographies was reluctantly accepted by the 
Centre, which was still reeling from the widespread 
unmasking of OGPU networks in the spring of 1927. It 
gradually became clear, however, that the core of the Ilk- 
Weinstein illegal network consisted of their own relatives 
and that some elements of it were pure invention. Its 
agent operations in Britain and France were discovered to 
be “plain bluff,” though an effective way of obtaining 
funds from the Centre for Ilk and Weinstein. The network 
in Germany and Poland, while not wholly fictitious, was 

under surveillance by the local police and security 
services. The Centre closed down the entire residency in 
1933, though without attracting the publicity occasioned 
by the intelligence failures of 1927.^^ 

THE MAIN INFLUENCE on the evolution of the OGPU 
and its successors during the Stalinist era was the change 
in the nature of the Soviet state. Much of what was later 
called “Stalinism” was in reality the creation of Lenin: the 
cult of the infallible leader, the one-party state and a huge 
security service with a ubiquitous system of surveillance 
and a network of concentration camps to terrorize the 
regime’s opponents. But while Lenin’s one-party state left 
room for comradely debate within the ruling party, Stalin 
used the OGPU to stifle that debate, enforce his own 
narrow orthodoxy and pursue vendettas against opponents 
both real and imagined. The most vicious and long-lasting 
of those vendettas was against Leon Trotsky, Lenin’s 
former Commissar for War. 

In its early stages at least, the OGPU’s campaign 
against Trotsky and his supporters was characterized by a 
bizarre combination of brutality and farce. When Trotsky 
refused to recant and admit his “crimes against the Party,” 
he was sent into internal exile at Alma-Ata, a town in a 
remote comer of Kazakhstan on the Chinese border. The 
OGPU detachment which came to his Moscow flat on the 
morning of January 17, 1928 to take him into exile found 
Trotsky still in his pajamas. When he refused to come out. 

the OGPU broke down the door. Trotsky was surprised to 
recognize the officer leading the detachment as one of his 
former bodyguards from the civil war. Overcome with 
emotion at the sight of the ex-Commissar for War, the 
officer broke down and sobbed, “Shoot me. Comrade 
Trotsky, shoot me.” Trotsky calmed him down, told him it 
was his duty to obey orders however reprehensible, and 
adopted a posture of passive resistance while the OGPU 
removed his pajamas, put on his clothes and carried him 
to a car waiting to transport him to the Trans-Siberian 

Save for a few hunting trips, Trotsky spent most of his 
time in Alma-Ata at his desk. Between April and October 
1928 he sent his supporters about 550 telegrams and 800 
“political letters,” some of them lengthy polemical tracts. 
During the same period he received 700 telegrams and 
1,000 letters from various parts of the Soviet Union, but 
believed that at least as many more had been confiscated 
en route. Every item in Trotsky’s intercepted 
correspondence was carefully noted by the OGPU, and 
monthly digests of them were sent both to Vyacheslav 
Rudolfovich Menzhinsky (Dzerzhinsky’s successor) and 
to Stalin. Stalin, who never failed to overreact to 
opposition, cannot but have been unfavorably impressed 
by letters which regularly described him and his 
supporters as “degenerates.” 

OGPU reports on Trotsky and his followers were 

written in a tone of selfrighteous outrage. No counter- 
revolutionary group since the October Revolution, it 
declared, had dared to behave “as insolently, boldly and 
defiantly” as the Trotskyists. Even when brought in for 
interrogation, Trotsky’s supporters refused to be 
intimidated by their interrogators. Most declined to reply 
to questions. Instead they submitted impudent written 
protests, such as: “I consider the struggle I am engaged in 
to be a Party matter. I shall explain myself to the Central 
Control Commission, not to the OGPU.” Early in 1928 
the OGPU carried out its first mass arrests of Trotskyists, 
incarcerating several hundred of them in Moscow’s 
Butyrka prison. The Butyrka, however, had not yet 
descended into the brutal squalor for which it became 
infamous during the Great Terror a decade later, nor had 
the spirit of Trotsky’s followers been broken. On their 
first night in prison the Trotskyists staged a riot, kicking 
down doors, breaking windows and chanting politically 
incorrect slogans. “Such,” reported the OGPU 
indignantly, “was the behavior of the embittered enemies 
of the Party and Soviet power. 

The liquidation of the Trotskyist heresy and the 
maintenance of ideological orthodoxy within the 
Communist one-party state required, in Stalin’s view, 
Trotsky’s removal from the Soviet Union. In February 
1929 the great heretic was deported to Turkey and given 
1,500 dollars by an OGPU escort to enable him to “settle 
abroad.”^ ^ With Trotsky out of the country, the tone of 

OGPU reports on the destabilization and liquidation of his 
rapidly dwindling band of increasingly demoralized 
followers became more confident. According to one 
report, “a massive retreat from Trotskyism began in the 
second half of 1929.” Some of those who recanted were 
turned into OGPU agents to inform on their friends. The 
same report boasts of the subtlety of the methods used to 
undermine the credibility of the “counter-revolutionary” 
hard core. Individual Trotskyists were summoned to 
OGPU offices from their workplaces, left standing around 
in the corridors for several hours, then released without 
explanation. On returning to work they could give no 
credible account of what had happened. When the process 
was repeated their workmates became increasingly 
suspicious and tended to believe rumors planted by the 
OGPU that they were employed by them as informers. 
Once the “counter-revolutionaries” were discredited, they 
were then arrested for their political crimes. 

Stalin, however, was far from reassured. He 
increasingly regretted the decision to send Trotsky abroad 
rather than keep him in the Soviet Union, where he could 
have been put under constant surveillance. One episode 
only six months after Trotsky was sent into exile seems to 
have made a particular impression on Stalin. In the 
summer of 1929 Trotsky received a secret visit from a 
sympathizer within the OGPU, Yakov Blyumkin. As a 
young and impetuous Socialist Revolutionary in the 
Cheka in 1918, Blyumkin had assassinated the German 

ambassador in defiance of orders from Dzerzhinsky. With 
Trotsky’s help, however, he had been rehabilitated and 
had risen to become chief illegal resident in the Middle 
East. Blyumkin agreed to transmit a message from 
Trotsky to Karl Radek, one of his most important former 
supporters, and to try to set up lines of communication 
with what Trotsky termed his “cothinkers” in the Soviet 
Union. Trilisser, the head of foreign intelligence, was 
probably alerted to Blyumkin’s visit by an OGPU agent in 
Trotsky’s entourage. He did not, however, order 
Blyumkin’s immediate arrest. Instead he arranged an 
early version of what later became known as a “honey 
trap.” Trilisser instructed an attractive OGPU agent, 
Yelizaveta Yulyevna Gorskaya (better known as “Lisa,” 
or “Vixen”), to “abandon bourgeois prejudices,” seduce 
Blyumkin, discover the full extent of his collaboration 
with Trotsky, and ensure his return to the Soviet Union. 
Once lured back to Moscow, Blyumkin was interrogated, 
tried in secret and shot. According to the later OGPU 
defector Aleksandr Mikhailovich Orlov, Blyumkin’s last 
words before his execution were, “Long live Trotsky!” 
Soon afterwards “Lisa” Gorskaya married the OGPU 
resident in Berlin (and later in New York), Vasili 
Mikhailovich Zarubin. 

As Stalin became increasingly preoccupied during the 
early 1930s with the opposition to him within the 
Communist Party, he began to fear that there were other. 

undiscovered Blyumkins within INO. But Trotsky himself 
had not yet been targeted for assassination. The main 
“enemies of the people” outside the Soviet Union were 
still considered to be the White Guards. General Kutepov, 
the head of the ROVS in Paris, was brave, upright, 
teetotal, politically naive and an easy target for the 
OGPU. His entourage was skillfully penetrated by Soviet 
agents, and agents provocateurs brought him optimistic 
news of a nonexistent anti-Bolshevik underground. “Great 
movements are spreading across Russia!” Kutepov 
declared in November 1929. “Never have so many people 
come from ‘over there’ to see me and ask me to 
collaborate with their clandestine organizations.” Unlike 
Savinkov and Reilly, however, Kutepov resisted attempts 
to lure him back to Russia for meetings with the bogus 
anti-Communist conspirators. With Stalin’s approval, the 
OGPU thus decided to kidnap him instead and bring him 
back for interrogation and execution in Moscow. 

Overall planning of the Kutepov operation was given to 
Yakov Isaakovich (“Yasha”) Serebryansky, head of the 
euphemistically titled “Administration for Special 
Tasks. Before the Second World War, the 
administration functioned as a parallel foreign intelligence 
service, reporting directly to the Centre with special 
responsibility for sabotage, abduction and assassination 
operations on foreign soil.^^ Serebryansky later became a 
severe embarrassment to official historians anxious to 

distance Soviet foreign intelligence from the blood-letting 
of the late 1930s and portray it as a victim rather than a 
perpetrator of the Great Terror. An SVR- sponsored 
history published in 1993 claimed that Serebryansky was 
“not a regular member of State Security,” but “only 
brought in for special jobs. KGB files show that, on the 
contrary, he was a senior OGPU officer whose 
Administration for Special Tasks grew into an elite 
service, more than 200-strong, dedicated to hunting down 
“enemies of the people” on both sides of the Atlantic. 

Detailed preparations for the kidnaping of Kutepov 
were entrusted by Serebryansky to his illegal Paris 
resident, V. I. Speransky, who had taken part in the 
deception of Savinkov six years earlier.^ ^ On the morning 
of Sunday, January 26, 1930 Kutepov was bundled into a 
taxi in the middle of a street in Paris’s fashionable seventh 
arrondissement. Standing nearby was a Communist Paris 
policeman who had been asked to assist by Speransky so 
that any bystander who saw the kidnaping (one did) 
would mistake it for a police arrest. Though the Centre 
commended the kidnaping as “a brilliant operation,” the 
chloroform used to overpower Kutepov proved too much 
for the general’s weak heart. He died aboard a Soviet 
steamer while being taken back to Russia. 

The Kutepov operation was to set an important 
precedent. In the early and mid- 1930s the chief Soviet 
foreign intelligence priority remained intelligence 

collection. During the later years of the decade, however, 
all other operations were to be subordinated to “special 



On January 30, 1930 the Politburo (effectively the ruling 
body of both the Party and the Soviet Union) met to 
review INO operations and ordered it to increase 
intelligence collection in three target areas: Britain, 
France and Germany (the leading European powers); the 
Soviet Union’s western neighbors, Poland, Romania, 
Finland and the Baltic states; and Japan, its main Asian 
rival. ^ The United States, which established diplomatic 
relations with the Soviet Union only in 1933, was not 
mentioned. Though the first Soviet illegal had been sent 
across the Atlantic as early as 1921,^ the USA’s relative 
isolation from world affairs made American intelligence 
collection still a secondary priority.^ 

On Politburo instructions, the main expansion of INO 
operations was achieved through increasing the number of 
illegal residencies, each with up to seven (in a few cases 
as many as nine) illegal officers. By contrast, even in 
Britain and France legal residencies operating under 
diplomatic cover in Soviet embassies had three officers at 
most and sometimes only one. Their main function was to 

provide channels of communications with the Centre and 
other technical support for the more highly regarded 
illegals.^ During the 1920s both legal and illegal 
residencies had had the right to decide what agents to 
recruit and how to recruit them. On succeeding Trilisser 
as head of INO in 1930, however, Artur Artuzov, the hero 
of the SINDIKAT and TREST operations, complained 
that the existing agent network contained “undesirable 
elements.” He decreed that future agent recruitment 
required the authorization of the Centre. Partly because of 
problems of communication, his instructions were not 
always carried out.^ 

The early and mid- 1930s were to be remembered in the 
history of Soviet foreign intelligence as the era of the 
“Great Illegals,” a diverse group of remarkably talented 
individuals who collectively transformed OGPU agent 
recruitment and intelligence collection. Post-war illegals 
had to endure long training periods designed to establish 
their bogus identities, protect their cover and prepare them 
for operations in the West. Their pre-war predecessors 
were successful partly because they had greater freedom 
from bureaucratic routine and more opportunity to use 
their own initiative. But they also had to contend with far 
softer targets than their successors. By the standards of 
the Cold War, most inter- war Western security systems 
were primitive. The individual flair of the Great Illegals 
combined with the relative vulnerability of their targets to 
give some of their operations a much more unorthodox, at 

times even eccentric, character than those of the Cold 

Some of the ablest of the Great Illegals were not 
Russians at all, but cosmopolitan, multilingual Central 
Europeans who had worked in the Comintern 
underground before joining the OGPU and shared a 
visionary faith in the Communist millennium.^ Arnold 
Deutsch, the chief recruiter of students and young 
graduates at Cambridge University (discussed in chapter 
4), was an Austrian Jew. The most successful of the 
Fourth Department (Military Intelligence) illegals was the 
German Richard Sorge, later described by one of his 
Comintern admirers as a “startlingly good-looking ... 
romantic, idealistic scholar,” who exuded charm. ^ While 
Surge’s main successes were achieved posing as a Nazi 
journalist in Japan, those of the OGPU/NKVD illegals 
mostly took place in Europe. 

Though the Great Illegals are nowadays best 
remembered, particularly in Britain, for their recruitment 
of young, talented, ideological agents, their first major 
successes were the less glamorous but scarcely less 
important acquisition of diplomatic ciphers and 
documents from agents motivated by money and sex 
rather than ideology. Codebreaking is often supposed to 
depend on little more than the cryptanalytic genius of 
brilliant mathematicians, nowadays assisted by huge 
networks of computers. In reality, most major twentieth- 
century codebreaking coups on which information is 

available have been assisted — sometimes crucially — ^by 
agent intelligence on code and cipher systems. Tsarist 
codebreakers had led the world chiefly because of their 
skill in stealing or purchasing the codes and ciphers of 
foreign powers. Ten years before the First World War the 
British ambassador in St. Petersburg, Sir Charles 
Hardinge, discovered that his head Chancery servant had 
been offered the then enormous sum of 1,000 pounds to 
steal the embassy’s main cipher. Though the Okhrana 
failed on this occasion, it succeeded on many others. 
Hardinge was disconcerted to be told by a Russian 
statesman that he “did not mind how much I reported in 
writing what he had told me in conversation, but he 
begged me on no account to telegraph as all our 
[ciphered] telegrams are known!” The Okhrana became 
the first modem intelligence service to make one of its 
major priorities the theft of foreign ciphers to assist its 
codebreakers. In so doing it set an important precedent for 
its Soviet successors.^ 

Research on the making of Stalin’s foreign policy has, 
as yet, barely begun to take account of the large volume 
of Western diplomatic traffic which the Great Illegals and 
the codebreakers were instmmental in providing. 

Constantini in the British embassy in Rome from 1924 
onwards included important cipher material.^ KGB 
records, however, give the main credit for the OGPU’s 

early successes in obtaining foreign diplomatic ciphers to 
the most flamboyant of the Great Illegals, Dmitri 
Aleksandrovich Bystroletov, codenamed HANS or 
ANDREI, who operated abroad under a series of aliases, 
including several bogus titles of nobility. His was one of 
the portraits of the leading heroes of foreign intelligence 
later chosen to hang on the walls of the secret “memory 
room” at the KGB First Chief (Foreign Intelligence) 
Directorate in Yasenevo (now the headquarters of the 
SVR). Bystroletov was a strikingly handsome, 
multilingual extrovert, bom in 1901, the illegitimate son 
of a Kuban Cossack mother and — Bystroletov later 
persuaded himself — the celebrated novelist Aleksei 

A hagiography of Bystroletov’ s career published by the 
SVR in 1995 unsurprisingly fails to mention either his 
fantasy about the identity of his father or the fact that one 
of his first claims to fame within the OGPU was the 
seduction of female staff with access to classified 
documents in foreign embassies and ministries: a 
technique later employed on a larger scale by Soviet Bloc 
intelligence agencies in operations such as the “secretaries 
offensive” in West Germany. A report noted by Mitrokhin 
quaintly records that Bystroletov “quickly became on 
close terms with women and shared their beds.” His first 
major conquest for the OGPU occurred in Prague, where 
in 1927 he seduced a 29-year-old woman in the French 

embassy whom the OGPU codenamed LAROCHE. 
Over the next two years LAROCHE gave Bystroletov 
copies of both French diplomatic ciphers and classified 

Bystroletov ’s unconventional flamboyance may help to 
explain why he never achieved officer rank in Soviet 
intelligence and remained simply an illegal agent/^ 
attached in the early 1920s and late 1930s to the illegal 
Berlin residency of Boris Bazarov (codenamed KIN).^^ 
Unlike Bystroletov, more conventional OGPU officers 
missed a number of opportunities to recruit agents with 
access to diplomatic ciphers. One such opportunity, which 
later led to a personal rebuke by Stalin to the OGPU 
personnel responsible, occurred in Paris in August 1928. 
A stranger, later identified as the Swiss businessman and 
adventurer Giovanni de Ry (codenamed ROSSI), 
presented himself at the Soviet embassy and asked to see 
the military attache, or the first secretary. According to 
a later account by Bystroletov based on an embassy 
report, de Ry was a short man whose red nose contrasted 
colorfully with his yellow briefcase. He allegedly told 
the OGPU resident, Vladimir Voynovich:^^ 

This briefcase contains the codes and ciphers of 
Italy. You, no doubt, have copies of the ciphered 
telegrams of the local Italian embassy. Take the 
briefcase and check the authenticity of its contents. 

Once you have satisfied yourself that they are 
genuine, photograph them and give me 200,000 
French francs. 

De Ry also offered to provide future Italian diplomatic 
ciphers for a similar sum. Voynovich took the ciphers into 
a back room, where they were photographed by his wife. 
He then returned the originals to de Ry, denounced them 
as forgeries, ordered him out of the embassy and 
threatened to call the police. Though the Centre later 
changed its mind, at the time it commended Voynovich 
for his astuteness in obtaining Italian ciphers at no cost to 

Exactly a year later, in August 1929, there was another, 
similar walk-in at the Paris embassy. On this occasion the 
visitor was a cipher clerk from the Foreign Office 
Communications Department, Ernest Holloway Oldham, 
then accompanying a British trade delegation in Paris. 
Voynovich seems to have tried to repeat the deception 
practiced on de Ry a year earlier. Oldham, however, was 
more cautious than de Ry, brought no cipher material with 
him, tried to prevent his identity being discovered and 
sought to limit his contact with the OGPU to a single 
transaction. He identified himself only as “Charlie,” 
misled Voynovich by claiming to work in the Foreign 
Office printing department, and announced that he could 
obtain a copy of the British diplomatic cipher. Oldham 
asked for 50,000 pounds, Voynovich beat him down to 

10,000 pounds and they agreed on a meeting in Berlin 
early the following year.^^ 

Before that meeting took place, the work of the Paris 
embassy and OGPU residency was disrupted by the 
defection of the Soviet charge d’affaires, Grigori 
Besedovsky, in October 1929. Accused of counter- 
revolutionary “plotting,” Besedovsky made a dramatic 
escape over the embassy wall, pursued by OGPU guards 
who had orders to return him to Moscow for interrogation 
and, almost certainly, execution. Besedovsky ’s memoirs, 
published in 1930, caused outrage in the Centre. They 
denounced Stalin as “the embodiment of the most 
senseless type of oriental despotism,” and revealed a 
number of OGPU secrets: among them the offers of 
Italian and British ciphers to the Paris residency by 
unidentified walk-ins.^ ^ 

These revelations led to Bystroletov’s urgent recall to 
Moscow. At the Lubyanka, Abram Aronovich Slutsky 
(later head of foreign intelligence) showed him a copy of 
Besedovsky’ s memoirs. Opposite the reference to the 
deception of de Ry, the unidentified walk-in who had 
provided Italian ciphers in 1928, the instruction 
“Reopen!” had been penciled in the margin by Stalin 
himself Slutsky instructed Bystroletov to return to Paris 
at once, discover the identity of the walk-in swindled two 
years earlier, renew contact and obtain further ciphers 
from him. “Where can I find him?” Bystroletov asked. 
“That’s your business,” Slutsky replied. “You have six 

months to track him down.”^^ 

Bystroletov ran de Ry to ground in a Geneva bar. 
Believing that, after the fraud practiced on him in Paris 
two years earlier, de Ry might reject an approach from the 
OGPU, Bystroletov decided to use what later became 
known as the “false flag” technique and pretended to be 
working for the Japanese intelligence service. Though de 
Ry was not deceived for long by the “false flag,” he 
agreed to sell further Italian ciphers which he claimed to 
be able to obtain from a corrupt Italian diplomat. Future 
meetings with de Ry usually took place in Berlin, where 
the diplomat was allegedly stationed. KGB records, 
possibly incomplete, show that de Ry was paid at least 
200,000 French francs. 

Bystroletov was also given the task of tracing the 
unidentified British walk-in (Ernest Oldham) who had 
offered to sell Foreign Office ciphers to the Paris 
residency. In April 1930, at the meeting arranged in the 
previous year, Oldham (codenamed ARNO by the OGPU) 
handed over only part of a diplomatic cipher, probably as 
a precaution against being double-crossed, and demanded 
a 6,000-dollar down-payment before providing the rest. 
The OGPU tried to locate him after the meeting but 
discovered that he had given a false address.^^ 

Probably soon after his first meeting with de Ry, 
Bystroletov succeeded in tracking down Oldham in a 
Paris bar, struck up a conversation with him, won his 

confidence and booked into the hotel where he was 
staying. There Bystroletov revealed himself to Oldham 
and his wife Lucy as an impoverished Hungarian 
aristocrat who had fallen, like Oldham, into the clutches 
of Soviet intelligence. With his wife’s approval, Oldham 
agreed to provide Foreign Office ciphers and other 
classified documents to Bystroletov to pass on to the 
OGPU. Oldham was given a first payment of 6,000 
dollars, a second of 5,000 dollars, then 1,000 dollars a 
month. Bystroletov portrayed himself throughout as a 
sympathetic friend, visiting the Oldhams on several 
occasions at their London home in Pembroke Gardens, 
Kensington. Oldham’s documents, however, were handed 
over at meetings in France and Germany. 

Having originally tried to hold the OGPU at arm’s 
length, Oldham became increasingly nervous about the 
risks of working as a Soviet agent. In order to put pressure 
on him, Bystroletov was accompanied to several of their 
meetings by the head of the illegal residency in Berlin, 
Boris Bazarov (codenamed KIN), who posed as a rather 
menacing Italian Communist named da Vinci. With 
Bazarov and Bystroletov playing the hard man/soft man 
routine, Oldham agreed to continue but took increasingly 
to drink. Bystroletov strengthened his hold over Lucy 
Oldham (henceforth codenamed MADAM) by putting his 
relationship with her on what an OGPU report coyly 
describes as “an intimate footing. 

Though Bystroletov successfully deceived the 

Oldhams, he seems to have been unaware that the 
Oldhams were also deceiving him. At their first meeting, 
Oldham explained that he was “a lord, who worked out 
ciphers for the Foreign Office and was a very influential 
person,” rather than, in reality, a minor functionary. At 
later meetings Oldham claimed that he traveled abroad on 
a diplomatic passport illegally provided for him by a 
Foreign Office friend named Kemp whom he alleged, 
almost certainly falsely, was in the Secret Intelligence 
Service. Having helped Bystroletov to acquire a British 
passport in the name of Robert Grenville, Oldham told 
him that the passport had been personally issued by the 
Foreign Secretary, Sir John Simon, who believed it to be 
for a minor British aristocrat of his acquaintance. Lord 
Robert Grenville, then resident in Canada. “I didn’t know 
Lord Robert was here in Britain,” Simon was alleged to 
have remarked to Oldham. Mrs. Oldham also specialized 
in tall stories. She told Bystroletov that she was the sister 
of an army officer named Montgomery who, she claimed, 
held the (non-existent) post of head of the intelligence 
service at the Foreign Office a later note on the KGB 
file, probably dating from the 1940s, identified the 
mysterious and possibly mythical Montgomery as Field 
Marshal Viscount Montgomery of Alamein! Expert 
though Bystroletov proved as an agent controller, his 
ignorance of the ways of the Foreign Office and the 
British establishment made him curiously gullible — 
though perhaps no more so than the Centre, which was 

also taken in.^^ 

De Ry, meanwhile, was providing Bystroletov at 
meetings in Berlin with a mixture of genuine diplomatic 
documents (Italian ciphers probably chief among them) 
and colorful inventions. According to Bystroletov, when 
asked whether some of his material was genuine, he 
replied indignantly, “What kind of question is that? Of 
course they are ... Your Japanese are idiots. Write and tell 
them to start printing American dollars. Instead of paying 
me 200,000 genuine francs, give me a million forged 
dollars and we’ll be quits.” The Centre was taken in by at 
least some of de Ry’s inventions. Possibly to disguise the 
fact that he was also trying to sell Italian ciphers to the 
French and other purchasers, he claimed that Mussolini’s 
son-in-law. Count Galeazzo Ciano di Cortellazzo (later 
Italian foreign minister), had organized “an extensive 
trade in ciphers” and, when a cipher was missing from the 
Berlin embassy, had ordered the liquidation of an 
innocent scapegoat to divert attention from himself. Since 
the OGPU believed that Western intelligence agencies, 
like itself, organized secret assassinations, it had 
surprisingly little difficulty in crediting de Ry’s 
improbable tale.^^ De Ry appears to have tried to deceive 
the OGPU on two other occasions by putting it in contact 
with bogus officials who claimed to have German and 
British diplomatic ciphers for sale. 

The Centre attached great importance, however, to an 

introduction provided by de Ry to his friend the Paris 
businessman Rodolphe Lemoine, an agent and recruiter of 
the French foreign intelligence service, the military 
Deuxieme Bureau. Bom Rudolf Stallmann, the son of a 
wealthy Berlin jeweler, Lemoine had begun working for 
the Deuxieme Bureau in 1918 and acquired French 
citizenship. Intelligence for Lemoine was a passion as 
well as a second career. According to one of his chiefs in 
the Deuxieme Bureau, “He was as hooked on espionage 
as a dmnk is on alcohol.” Lemoine’ s greatest coup was 
the recmitment in 1931 of a German cipher and SIGINT 
clerk, Hans-Thilo Schmidt, whose compulsive 
womanizing had mn him into debt. For the next decade 
Schmidt (codenamed HE and ASCHE by the French) was 
the Deuxieme Bureau’s most important foreign agent.^^ 
Some of the intelligence he provided laid the foundations 
for the breaking of the German Enigma machine cipher by 
British cryptanalysts in the Second World War.^^ 

After Bystroletov had made the initial contact with 
Lemoine (codenamed REX by the Deuxieme Bureau and 
JOSEPH by the OGPU), he was instmcted to hand the 
case over to another, less flamboyant Soviet illegal, 
Ignace Reiss (alias “Ignace Poretsky,” codenamed 
RAYMOND) so that he could concentrate on mnning 
Oldham. At meetings with Lemoine, Reiss posed initially 
as an American military intelligence officer. Lemoine 
appeared anxious to set up an exchange of intelligence on 

Germany and foreign cipher systems, and supplied a 
curious mixture of good and bad intelligence as evidence 
of the Deuxieme Bureau’s willingness to cooperate. An 
Italian cipher which he provided in May 1931 seems to 
have been genuine. In February 1932, however, Lemoine 
reported the sensationally inaccurate news that Hitler 
(who became German chancellor less than a year later) 
had made two secret visits to Paris and was in the pay of 
the Deuxieme Bureau. “We French,” he claimed, “are 
doing everything to hasten his rise to power.” The Centre 
dismissed the report as disinformation, but ordered 
meetings with Lemoine to continue and for him to be 
paid, probably with the intention of laying a trap which 
would end in his recruitment.^^ 

In November 1933 Lemoine brought with him to meet 
Reiss the head of the SIGINT section of the Deuxieme 
Bureau, Gustave Bertrand, codenamed OREL (“Eagle”) 
by the Centre. To try to convince Bertrand that he was an 
American intelligence officer willing to exchange cipher 
material, Reiss offered him Latin American diplomatic 
ciphers. Bertrand, predictably, was more interested in 
European ciphers.^^ Soon after his first meeting with 
Bertrand, Reiss informed Lemoine that he worked not for 
American intelligence but for the OGPU. The Centre 
probably calculated that it had caught Lemoine in a trap, 
forcing him either to admit to his superiors that he had 
been both paid and deceived by the OGPU or to conceal 
that information and risk being blackmailed into working 

for the Soviet Union. The blackmail failed. Lemoine 
had probably realized for some time that Reiss, whom he 
knew as “Walter Scott,” worked for Soviet intelligence. 
Reiss had several further meetings with Lemoine and 
Bertrand, at which they exchanged intelligence on Italian, 
Czechoslovak and Hungarian ciphers. 

WHILE REISS WAS maintaining contact with Lemoine, 
Bystroletov was finding Oldham increasingly desperate to 
extricate himself from the OGPU. By the summer of 1932 
Bystroletov feared that Oldham’s worsening alcoholism 
and carelessness at work would attract the attention of 
MI5. The Centre concluded that Oldham’s increasingly 
erratic behavior also risked exposing Bystroletov to a 
terrible revenge from the supposedly ruthless British 
intelligence services. On September 17, in recognition of 
his bravery in the face of nonexistent British assassination 
squads, it presented him with a rifle carrying the 
inscription “For unstinting struggle against Counter- 
Revolution, from your colleagues in the OGPU.”^^ 

On September 30, 1932, less than a fortnight after 
Bystroletov received his rifle, Oldham resigned from the 
Foreign Office, unable to stand the pressures of his double 
life.^^ To his despair, the OGPU still refused to leave him 
in peace. Over the next year Bystroletov extracted from 
him details of all his former colleagues in the 
Communications Department, hoping to recruit at least 

one of them as Oldham’s successor. As his drinking got 
further out of control, Oldham became convinced that his 
arrest was only a matter of time. His wife told Bystroletov 
that her husband believed that the permanent under- 
secretary at the Foreign Office, Sir Robert Vansittart, had 
personally put him under observation and that British 
intelligence was also on the trail of Bystroletov.^^ Though 
there was probably no substance to these fears, the Centre 
took them seriously. The OGPU trouble-shooter and 
“flying illegal” Teodor Maly reported to the Centre from 
London on July 6 that Bystroletov was in great danger: 

It is possible that ANDREI [Bystroletov] will be 
liquidated by the enemy. None the less I have not 
given an order for his immediate departure. For him 
to depart now would mean the loss of a source of 
such importance [Oldham] that it would weaken our 
defense and increase the power of the enemy. The 
loss of ANDREI is possible today, as is that of other 
colleagues tomorrow. The nature of their work 
makes such risks unavoidable.^^ 

The Centre replied on August 10: 

Please inform ANDREI that we here are fully aware 
of the self-denial, discipline, resourcefulness and 
courage that he has shown in the very difficult and 
dangerous conditions of recent days while working 

with ARNO. 


Bystroletov continued to receive high praise for his skill 
in outwitting a British version of the Serebryansky 
Service which existed only in the conspiratorial 
imagination of the OGPU. 

On September 29, 1933, almost a year to the day after 
his resignation from the Foreign Office, Oldham was 
found unconscious in the gas-filled kitchen of his house in 
Pembroke Gardens, rushed to the hospital and pronounced 
dead on arrival. An inquest found that he had taken his 
life by “coal gas suffocation” while of “unsound mind.”^^ 
The Centre had no doubt that Oldham had been murdered. 
Its report on his death concluded: “In order to avoid a 
scandal the [British] intelligence service had ARNO 
physically eliminated, making his death appear to be 
suicide.” It believed, however, that Bystroletov had 
disguised his identity so successfully that the Foreign 
Office believed Oldham had been working for French 
rather than Soviet intelligence.^^ 

Oldham’s suicide did little if anything to alert the 
Foreign Office to the chronic problems of its own security 
and that of British embassies abroad.^^ Still concerned by 
fears that he was being pursued by a secret British 
assassination squad, however, Bystroletov failed to grasp 
how relatively unprotected a target the Foreign Office 
remained. He concluded that a safer recruiting ground was 

Geneva, where several of Oldham’s former colleagues 
were working as cipher clerks with the British delegation 
to the League of Nations. In December 1933 he made 
contact there with Raymond Oake (codenamed 
SHELLEY), one of the most promising potential recruits 
in the communications department identified by 
Oldham.^^ Oake had good reason to resent his 
underprivileged status. Since joining the Foreign Office in 
1920 he had remained in the lowly rank of “temporary 
clerk” without pension rights. Bystroletov handed over 
the cultivation of Oake to the Dutch artist Henri Christian 
(“Han”) Pieck, who operated as an OGPU illegal 
codenamed COOPER.^^ 

Pieck was almost as flamboyant an extrovert as 
Bystroletov, with a convivial manner which won him a 
wide circle of friends and acquaintances among British 
officials and journalists in Geneva. He invited Oake and 
other cipher clerks to stay at his house in The Hague 
where he lavished charm and hospitality on them while 
assessing them as possible recruits. Oake’s main service 
to Soviet intelligence was to provide an introduction to 
Captain John H. King, who joined the Foreign Office 
communications department as a “temporary clerk” in 
193448 subsequently became a far more important 
agent than Oake himself. Pieck reported that King had 
been bom in Ireland, considered himself Irish rather than 
British and, though anti-Soviet, also “hated the English.” 

Estranged from his wife and with an American mistress to 
support, he found it difficult to live on his modest Foreign 
Office salary. Pieck cultivated King with patience and 
skill. On one occasion he and his wife took King and his 
lover for an expensive touring holiday in Spain, staying at 
the best hotels. Mrs. Pieck complained that the whole 
holiday had been “a real ordeal” and that King and his 
mistress were “incredibly boring. The Piecks’ 
hospitality, however, paid off handsomely. Seven months 
after his first meeting with Pieck, King (henceforth 
codenamed MAG) began to hand over large amounts of 
classified material, including Foreign Office telegrams, 
ciphers and secret daily and weekly summaries of 
diplomatic correspondence.^^ 

AN ANAFYSIS BY the Centre concluded that about 30 
percent of King’s material was the same as that provided 
by Francesco Constantini (DUNCAN), the long-serving 
OGPU agent in the British embassy at Rome.^^ The 
overlap was, almost certainly, regarded as useful for 
checking the authenticity of the documents received from 
both agents. It was a sign of the importance attached to 
Constantini ’s intelligence that Abram Aronovich Slutsky, 
who succeeded Artuzov as head of INO in 1934, decided 
to transfer him from the legal residency in Rome to 
another of the Great Illegals, Moisei Markovich Akselrod 
(codenamed OST or OSTO), one of the leading Soviet 

agent controllers. Bom into a Jewish family in Smolensk 
in 1898, Akselrod had been a member of the Russian 
branch of the Zionist socialist organization Poale Zion, 
until its dissolution in 1922. He then joined the 
Bolsheviks and in 1925 began a career in INO.^^ Like 
most of the Great Illegals, Akselrod was a remarkable 
linguist — fluent in Arabic, English, French, German and 
Italian — and, according to a fellow illegal, a man of 
“extraordinary culture” with “a fine indifference to 
risk.”^^ In 1934 he traveled to Rome on an Austrian 
passport to establish a new illegal residency and act as 
Constantini’s controller. He had his first meeting with 
Constantini in January 1935.^^ 

Few — if any — Soviet controllers ever met an agent as 
frequently as Akselrod saw Constantini. At times they had 
almost daily meetings. On October 27, 1935 the Centre 
cabled Akselrod: “Between September 24 and October 14 
you met [Constantini] 16 times. There must be no more 
than two or three meetings a week.” It is not difficult to 
understand Akselrod’s enthusiasm for agent DUNCAN. 
Constantini supplied him with a remarkable range of 
documents and cipher material from embassy red boxes, 
diplomatic bags, filing cabinets and — ^probably — the 
embassy safe. Far from consisting simply of material on 
British-Italian relations, the documents included Foreign 
Office reports and British ambassadors’ despatches on a 
great variety of major international issues, which were 

sent for information to the Rome embassy. A Centre 
report noted on November 15, 1935 that no fewer than 
101 of the British documents obtained from Constantini 
since the beginning of the year had been judged 
sufficiently important to be “sent to Comrade Stalin”: 
among them the Foreign Office records of talks between 
Sir John Simon, the British Foreign Secretary, Anthony 
Eden, junior Foreign Office minister (who became 
Foreign Secretary at the end of the year), and Hitler in 
Berlin; between Eden and Litvinov, the Soviet Commissar 
for Foreign Affairs, in Moscow; between Eden and 
Joseph Beck, the Polish foreign minister, in Warsaw; 
between Eden and Edvard Benes, the Czechoslovak 
foreign minister, in Prague; and between Eden and 
Mussolini in Rome.^^ 

A striking omission from the Centre’s list of the most 
important Foreign Office documents supplied to Stalin 
was Eden’s account of his talks with him during his visit 
to Moscow in March 1935 — despite the fact that this 
document was sent to the Rome embassy and was 
probably among those obtained by Constantini.^^ Since 
this was Stalin’s first meeting with a minister from a 
Western government, their talks were of unusual 
significance. The most likely explanation for the Centre’s 
failure to send the British record of the meeting to the 
Kremlin is that Slutsky feared to pass on to Stalin some of 
Eden’s comments about him. INO would have been 
unembarrassed to report the fact that Eden was impressed 

by Stalin’s “remarkable knowledge and understanding of 
international affairs.” But it doubtless lacked the nerve to 
repeat Eden’s conclusion that Stalin was “a man of strong 
oriental traits of character with unshakeable assurance and 
control whose courtesy in no way hid from us an 
implacable ruthlessness.” The Centre was probably also 
nervous about reporting some of the opinions attributed 
by Eden to Stalin — for example, that he was “perhaps 
more appreciative of [the] German point of view than 
Monsieur Litvino[v].”^^ There was no more dangerous 
activity in Moscow than repeating criticisms of Stalin or 
attributing heretical opinions to him. 

The British ambassador in Moscow, Viscount Chilston, 
optimistically reported that, as a result of Eden’s visit, 
“the Soviet Government appears to have got rid of the 
bogey in their minds, that we were encouraging Germany 
against Soviet plans for Eastern security.”^^ Stalin, 
however, rarely — if ever — abandoned a conspiracy theory 
and remained deeply suspicious of British policy. In a 
communique at the end of his talks in Moscow, Eden had 
welcomed the Soviet Union’s support for the principle of 
collective security, following its entry the previous year 
into the League of Nations (hitherto denounced by 
Moscow as the “League of Burglars”). But Stalin must 
have learned from Foreign Office documents that Eden 
was disinclined to involve the Soviet Union in any 
collective security arrangements designed to contain Nazi 

Germany. To Stalin’s deeply suspicious mind, this 
reluctance was further evidence of a British plot to focus 
German aggression in the east.^^ Though he was content 
to entrust most day-to-day diplomacy to the efficient and 
far more pragmatic Litvinov, it was Stalin who 
determined the strategic thrust of Soviet foreign policy. 

The Centre had suspected for some time that its 
principal source of British diplomatic documents over the 
last decade, the mercenary agent Francesco Constantin! 
(DUNCAN), had been selling some material to Italian 
intelligence as well as to the NKVD. It had dramatic 
confirmation of these suspicions in February 1936, when 
a British assessment of the Italo-Ethiopian war — 
purloined by Constantin! from the British embassy — was 
published on the front page of the Giornale dltalia.^^ On 
being challenged by Akselrod, Constantin! was forced to 
admit that he had supplied some documents to the 
Italians, but concealed the large scale on which he had 
done so. Constantin! also admitted in 1936 that he had 
lost his job in the British embassy, though he apparently 
omitted that he had been sacked for dishonesty. He tried 
to reassure Akselrod by telling him that he had a former 
colleague in the embassy who would continue to supply 
him with classified documents. The colleague was later 
identified as Constantin! ’s brother Secondo (codenamed 
DUDLEY), who had worked as a servant in the embassy 
Chancery for the previous twenty years. 

Secondo Constantini, however, took fewer precautions 
than his brother Francesco. In January he stole a diamond 
necklace belonging to the ambassador’s wife from a 
locked red box (normally used for diplomatic documents 
rather than jewelery) which was kept in the ambassador’s 
apartment next to the Chancery. The ambassador, Sir Eric 
Drummond (soon to become Lord Perth), who had 
previously dismissed the idea that the British diplomatic 
documents appearing in the Italian press might have been 
purloined from his embassy, now began to grasp that 
embassy security might, after all, require serious 
attention. Since the Foreign Office had no security officer, 
it was forced to seek the help of Major Valentine Vivian, 
the head of SIS counter-intelligence. Vivian modestly 
disclaimed significant expertise in embassy security but, 
in view of the even greater lack of expertise in the Foreign 
Office, agreed to carry out an investigation.^^ Once in 
Rome, he quickly discovered an appalling series of basic 
lapses. The embassy files, safe and red boxes were all 
insecure and “it would not be impossible or even difficult 
for unauthorized persons to spend long periods in the 
Chancery or Registry rooms.” 

Vivian quickly identified Secondo Constantini as the 
man probably responsible for the theft both of the 
diamond necklace and of at least some of the documents 
supplied to Italian intelligence: 

S. Constantini ... has been employed in the Chancery 

for twenty-one years. He might, therefore, have been 
directly or indirectly responsible for any, or all, of 
the thefts of papers or valuables which have taken 
place, or are thought to have taken place, from this 
Mission. He was, I understand, not quite free of 
suspicion of being himself concerned in a dishonest 
transaction for which his brother [Francesco], then 
also a Chancery servant, was dismissed a short time 
ago. Moreover, though the Diplomatic Staff at the 
time did not connect him with the matter, I am clear 
in my own mind that the circumstances of the loss of 
two copies of the “R” Code from a locked press 
[filing cabinet] in the Chancery in 1925 point 
towards S. Constantini, or his brother, or both, as the 

Though Sir Eric Drummond politely welcomed Vivian’s 
recommendations for improvements in the security of his 
embassy, he took little action. In particular, neither he 
nor most of his staff could credit the charges against 
Secondo Constantini, whom they regarded as “a sort of 
friend of the family. Instead of being dismissed, agent 
DUDLEY and his wife were — amazingly — invited to 
London in May 1937 as the guests of His Majesty’s 
Government at the coronation of King George VI, as a 
reward for his long and supposedly faithful service. 

When Secondo Constantini returned from his expense- 

paid junket in London, he was able to resume supplying 
classified British documents to his brother Francesco, 
who passed them on for copying by both Akselrod’s 
illegal residency and Italian intelligence before returning 
them to embassy files. The Centre regarded the whole 
improbable story of Constantin! ’s continued access to 
embassy files after Vivian’s investigation as deeply 
suspicious. Unable to comprehend the naivety of the 
British foreign service in matters of embassy security, it 
suspected instead some deep-laid plot by British and/or 
Italian intelligence. Regular meetings with Francesco 
Constantin! were suspended in August 1937.^^ 

THE CIPHER MATERIAL obtained from the Constantin! 
brothers. Captain King and other agents in Western 
embassies and foreign ministries was passed to the most 
secret section of Soviet intelligence, a joint OGPU/Fourth 
Department SIGINT unit housed not in the Lubyanka but 
in the Foreign Affairs building on Kuznetsky Bridge. 
According to Evdokia Kartseva (later Petrova), who 
joined the unit in 1933, its personnel were forbidden to 
reveal even the location of their office to their closest 
relatives. Like most young women in the unit, Kartseva 
was terrified of its head, Gleb Ivanovich Boky, who had 
made his reputation first in conducting the “Red Terror” 
in Petrograd in 1918, then in terrorizing Turkestan later in 
the civil war.^^ Though in his mid-fifties, Boky still 

prided himself on his sexual athleticism and arranged 
group sex weekends at his dacha. Kartseva lived in fear of 
being invited to the orgies. During the night shift, when 
she felt most vulnerable, she wore her “plainest and 
dullest clothes for fear of attracting [Boky’s] unwelcome 
attention.”^ ^ 

Despite the personal depravity of its chief, the 
combined OGPU/Fourth Department unit was the world’s 
largest and best-resourced SIGINT agency. In particular, 
thanks to Bystroletov and others, it received more 
assistance from espionage than any similar agency in the 
West. The records seen by Mitrokhin show that Boky’s 
unit was able to decrypt at least some of the diplomatic 
traffic of Britain, Austria, Germany and Italy.^^ Other 
evidence shows that Boky’s unit was also able to decrypt 
some Japanese, Turkish^^ and — almost certainly — 
American^^ and French^^ cables. No Western SIGINT 
agency during the 1930s seems to have collected so much 
political and diplomatic intelligence. 

The unavailability of most of the decrypts produced by 
Boky’s unit makes detailed analysis of their influence on 
Soviet foreign policy impossible. Soviet SIGINT 
successes, however, included important Japanese decrypts 
on the negotiation of the Anti-Comintem Pact between 
Germany and Japan. The published version of the Pact, 
concluded in November 1936, merely provided for an 
exchange of information on Comintern activities and 

cooperation on preventive measures against them. A 
secret protocol, however, added that if either of the 
signatories became the victim of “an unprovoked [Soviet] 
attack or threat of attack,” both would immediately 
consult together on the action to take and do “nothing to 
ease the situation of the USSR.” Moscow, unsurprisingly, 
read sinister intentions into this tortuous formula, though 
Japan was, in reality, still anxious not to be drawn into a 
European war and had no intention of concluding a 
military alliance. Three days after the signing of the Anti- 
Comintem Pact, Litvinov publicly announced in a speech 
to a Congress of Soviets that Moscow knew its secret 
protocol. His speech also contained a curious veiled 
allusion to codebreaking: 

It is not surprising that it is assumed by many that 
the German-Japanese agreement is written in a 
special code in which anti-Communism means 
something entirely different from the dictionary 
definition of this word, and that people decipher this 
code in different ways.^^ 

The success of Boky’s unit in decrypting Italian 
diplomatic traffic probably provided intelligence on 
Italy’s decision to join the Anti-Comintem Pact in the 
following year. 

THANKS TO ITS penetration agents and codebreakers. 

as well as to primitive Foreign Office security, Soviet 
intelligence was able to gather vastly more intelligence on 
the foreign policy of its main Western target, Great 
Britain, than the much smaller British intelligence 
community was able to obtain on Soviet policy. Since 
1927 British codebreakers had been unable to decrypt any 
high-level Soviet communications (though they had some 
success with the less sophisticated Comintern ciphers). 
SIS did not even possess a Moscow station. In 1936 the 
British ambassador. Viscount Chilston, vetoed a proposal 
to establish one on the grounds that it would be “liable to 
cause severe embarrassment.” But without an SIS 
presence he despaired of discovering anything of 
importance about Soviet policy-making.^^ 

The Soviet capacity to understand the political and 
diplomatic intelligence it collected, however, never 
approached its ability to collect that intelligence in the 
first place. Its natural tendency to substitute conspiracy 
theory for pragmatic analysis when assessing the 
intentions of the encircling imperialist powers was made 
worse during the 1930s by Stalin’s increasing tendency to 
act as his own intelligence analyst. Stalin, indeed, actively 
discouraged intelligence analysis by others, which he 
condemned as “dangerous guesswork.” “Don’t tell me 
what you think,” he is reported to have said. “Give me the 
facts and the source!” As a result, INO had no analytical 
department. Intelligence reports throughout and even 
beyond the Stalin era characteristically consisted of 

compilations of relevant information on particular topics 
with little argument or analysis Those who compiled 
them increasingly feared for their life expectancy if they 
failed to tell Stalin what he expected to hear. Their main 
priority as they trawled through the Centre’s treasure 
trove of British diplomatic documents and decrypts was to 
discover the anti-Soviet conspiracies which Comrade 
Stalin, “Lenin’s outstanding pupil, the best son of the 
Bolshevik Party, the worthy successor and great continuer 
of Lenin’s cause,” knew were there. The main function of 
Soviet foreign intelligence was thus to reinforce rather 
than to challenge Stalin’s misunderstanding of the West. 

A characteristic example of the Centre’s distorted but 
politically correct presentation of important intelligence 
was its treatment of the Foreign Office record of the 
meeting in March 1935 between Sir John Simon, Anthony 
Eden and Adolf Hitler in Berlin. Copies of the minutes 
were supplied both by Captain King in the Foreign Office 
and by Francesco Constantini in the Rome embassy.^^ 
Nine days before the meeting, in defiance of the post-First 
World War Treaty of Versailles, Hitler had announced the 
introduction of conscription. The fact that the meeting — 
the first between Hitler and a British foreign secretary — 
went ahead at all was, in itself, cause for suspicion in 
Moscow. On the British side the talks were mainly 
exploratory — to discover what the extent of Hitler’s 
demands for the revision of the Treaty of Versailles really 
was, and what prospect there was of accommodating 

them. Moscow, however, saw grounds for deep suspicion. 
While disclaiming any intention of attacking the Soviet 
Union, Hitler claimed that there was a distinct danger of 
Russia starting a war, and declared himself “firmly 
convinced that one day cooperation and solidarity would 
be urgently necessary to defend Europe against the ... 
Bolshevik menace.” Simon and Eden showed not the 
slightest interest in an anti-Bolshevik agreement, but their 
fairly conventional exchange of diplomatic pleasantries 
had sinister overtones in Moscow. According to the 
Foreign Office record, “The British Ministers were 
sincerely thankful for the way in which they had been 
received in Berlin, and would take away very pleasant 
memories of the kindness and hospitality shown them.”^^ 

The British record of the talks ran to over 23,000 
words. The Russian translation circulated by the Centre to 
Stalin and others in the Soviet leadership came to fewer 
than 4,000. Instead of producing a conventional precis the 
Centre selected a series of statements by Simon, Eden, 
Hitler and other participants in the talks, and assembled 
them into what appeared as a continuous conversation. 
The significance of some individual statements was thus 
distorted by removing them from their detailed context. 
Probably at the time, certainly subsequently, one of 
Simon’s comments was misconstrued as giving Germany 
carte blanche to take over Austria. 

Doubtless in line with Stalin’s own conspiracy theories, 
the Centre interpreted the visit by Simon and Eden to 

Berlin as the first in a series of meetings at which British 
statesmen not only sought to appease Hitler but gave him 
encouragement to attack Russia. In reality, though some 
British diplomats would have been content to see the two 
dictators come to blows of their own accord, no British 
foreign secretary and no British government would have 
contemplated orchestrating such a conflict. The 
conspiracy theories which were bom in Stalin’s Moscow 
in the 1930s, however, have — remarkably — survived the 
end of the Soviet era. An SVR official history published 
in 1997 insists that the many volumes of published 
Foreign Office documents as well as the even more 
voluminous unpublished files in the Public Record Office 
cannot be relied upon. The British government, it 
maintains, is still engaged in a conspiracy to conceal the 
existence of documents which reveal the terrible tmth 
about British foreign policy before the Second World 

Some documents from the 1930s having to do with 
the negotiations of British leaders with the highest 
leadership of Fascist Germany, including directly 
with Hitler, have been kept to this day in secret 
archives of the British Foreign Office. The British do 
not want the indiscreet peering at the proof of their 
policy of collusion with Hitler and spurring Germany 
on to its eastern campaign. 



Among the select group of inter-war heroes of foreign 
intelligence whose portraits hang today on the walls of the 
SVR’s Memory Room at Yasenevo is the Austrian Jew 
Arnold Deutsch, probably the most talented of all the 
Great Illegals. According to an SVR official eulogy, the 
portrait immediately “attracts the visitor’s attention” to 
“its intelligent, penetrating eyes, and strong-willed 
countenance.” Deutsch’ s role as an illegal was not 
publicly acknowledged by the KGB until 1990.^ Even 
now, some aspects of his career are considered unsuitable 
for publication in Moscow. 

Deutsch’ s academic career was one of the most brilliant 
in the history of Soviet intelligence. In July 1928, two 
months after his twenty-fourth birthday and less than five 
years after entering Vienna University as an 
undergraduate, he was awarded the degree of PhD with 
distinction. Though his thesis had been on chemistry, 
Deutsch had also become deeply immersed in philosophy 
and psychology. His description of himself in university 
documents throughout his student years as an observant 

Jew (mosaischf- was probably intended to conceal his 
membership of the Communist Party. Deutsch’s religious 
faith had been replaced by an ardent commitment to the 
Communist International’s vision of a new world order 
which would free the human race from exploitation and 
alienation. The revolutionary myth image of the world’s 
first worker-peasant state blinded both Deutsch and the 
ideological agents he later recruited to the increasingly 
brutal reality of Stalin’s Russia. Immediately after leaving 
Vienna University, Deutsch began secret work as a 
courier for OMS, Comintern’s international liaison 
department, traveling to Romania, Greece, Palestine and 
Syria. His Austrian wife, Josefme, whom he married in 
1929, was also recruited by OMS.^ 

Deutsch’s vision of a new world order included sexual 
as well as political liberation. At about the time he began 
covert work for Comintern, he became publicly involved 
in the “sex-pol” (sexual politics) movement, founded by 
the German Communist psychologist and sexologist 
Wilhelm Reich, which opened clinics to bring birth 
control and sexual enlightenment to Viennese workers.^ 
At this stage of his career, Reich was engaged in an 
ambitious attempt to integrate Freudianism with Marxism 
and in the early stages of an eccentric research program 
on human sexual behavior which later earned him an 
undeserved reputation as “the prophet of the better 
orgasm.”^ Deutsch enthusiastically embraced Reich’s 

teaching that political and sexual repression were different 
sides of the same coin and together paved the way for 
fascism. He ran the Munster Verlag in Vienna which 
published Reich’s work and other “sex-pol” literature.^ 
Though the Viennese police were probably unaware of 
Deutsch’s secret work for OMS, its anti-pomography 
section took a keen interest in his involvement with the 
“sex-pol” movement.^ 

Remarkably, Deutsch combined, at least for a few 
years, his role as an open disciple of Reich with secret 
work as a Soviet agent. In 1932 he was transferred from 
OMS to the INO, and trained in Moscow as an OGPU 
illegal with the alias “Stefan Lange” and the codename 
STEFAN. (Later, he also used the codename OTTO.) His 
first posting was in France, where he established secret 
crossing points on the Belgian, Dutch and German 
borders, and made preparations to install radio equipment 
on French fishing boats to be used for OGPU 
communications in times of war.^ Deutsch owed his 
posthumous promotion to the ranks of KGB immortals to 
his second posting in England. 

The rules protecting the identities and legends of 
illegals in the mid- 1930s were far less rigid and elaborate 
than they were to become later. Early in 1934 Deutsch 
traveled to London under his real name, giving his 
profession as “university lecturer” and using his academic 
credentials to mix in university circles. After living in 

temporary accommodation, he moved to a flat in Lawn 
Road, Hampstead, the heartland of London’s radical 
intelligentsia. The “Lawn Road Flats,” as they were then 
known, were the first “deck-access” apartments with 
external walkways to be built in England (a type of 
construction later imitated in countless blocks of council 
flats) and, at the time, were probably Hampstead’s most 
avant-garde building. Deutsch moved into number 7, next 
to a flat owned by the celebrated crime novelist Agatha 
Christie, then writing Murder on the Orient Express. 
Though it is tempting to imagine Deutsch and Christie 
discussing the plot of her latest novel, they may never 
have met. Christie lived elsewhere and probably visited 
Lawn Road rarely, if at all, in the mid- 1930s. Deutsch, in 
any case, is likely to have kept a low profile. While the 
front doors of most flats were visible from the street, 
Deutsch’ s was concealed by a stairwell which made it 
possible for him and his visitors to enter and leave 
unobserved.^ Deutsch strengthened his academic cover by 
taking a postgraduate course in psychology at London 
University and possibly by part-time teaching. In 1935 
he was joined by his wife, who had been trained in 
Moscow as a radio operator. ^ ^ 

KGB files credit Deutsch during his British posting 
with the recruitment of twenty agents and contact with a 
total of twenty-nine.^^ By far the most celebrated of these 
agents were a group of five young Cambridge graduates. 

who by the Second World War were known in the Centre 
as “The Five”: Anthony Blunt, Guy Burgess, John 
Caimcross, Donald Maclean and Kim Philby. After the 
release of the enormously popular Western The 
Magnificent Seven in 1960, they were often referred to as 
the “Magnificent Five.” The key to Deutsch’s success was 
his new strategy of recruitment, approved by the Centre, 
based on the cultivation of young radical high-fliers from 
leading universities before they entered the corridors of 
power. As Deutsch wrote to the Centre: 

Given that the Communist movement in these 
universities is on a mass scale and that there is a 
constant turnover of students, it follows that 
individual Communists whom we pluck out of the 
Party remain will pass unnoticed, both by the Party 
itself and by the outside world. People forget about 
them. And if at some time they do remember that 
they were once Communists, this will be put down to 
a passing fancy of youth, especially as those 
concerned are scions of the bourgeoisie. It is up to us 
to give the individual [recruit] a new [non- 
Communist] political personality.^^ 

Since the universities of Oxford and Cambridge provided 
a disproportionate number of Whitehall’s highest fliers, it 
was plainly logical to target Oxbridge rather than the red 
brick universities elsewhere. The fact that the new 

recruitment was based chiefly on Cambridge rather than 
Oxford was due largely to chance: the fact that the first 
potential recruit to come to Deutsch’s attention, Kim 
Philby, was a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge. Of 
the other members of the “Magnificent Five,” all recruited 
as a direct or indirect consequence of Philby ’s own 
recruitment, three (Blunt, Burgess and Caimcross) also 
came from Trinity College and the fourth (Maclean) from 
the neighboring Trinity Hall.^^ 

Deutsch’s recruitment strategy was to prove a 
spectacular success. By the early years of the Second 
World War all of the Five were to succeed in penetrating 
either the Foreign Office or the intelligence community. 
The volume of high-grade intelligence which they 
supplied was to become so large that Moscow sometimes 
had difficulty coping with it. 

AFTER GRADUATING FROM Cambridge in June 1933 
with the conviction that “my life must be devoted to 
Communism,” Philby spent most of the next year in 
Vienna working for the MOPR (the Russian acronym of 
the International Workers Relief Organization) and acting 
as a courier for the underground Austrian Communist 
Party. While in Vienna he met and married a young 
Communist divorcee, Litzi Friedman, after a brief but 
passionate love affair which included his first experience 
of making love in the snow (“actually quite warm, once 

you got used to it,” he later recalled). The first to 
identify Philby’s potential as a Soviet agent — and 
probably to draw him to the attention of Arnold Deutsch 
— was Litzi’s friend Edith Suschitsky, who was herself 
recruited by Deutsch and given the unimaginative 
codename EDITH. 

In May 1934 Kim and Litzi Philby returned to London, 
arriving some weeks after Deutsch. Several months earlier 
Edith Suschitsky had also taken up residence in London, 
marrying another recruit of Deutsch’ s, an English doctor 
named Alex Tudor Hart. The newly married couple were 
given the joint codename STRELA (“Arrow”). In June 
1934 Edith Tudor Hart took Philby to his first meeting 
with Deutsch on a bench in Regent’s Park, London. 
According to a later memoir written by Philby for the 
KGB, Deutsch instructed him, “We need people who 
could penetrate into the bourgeois institutions. Penetrate 
them for us!”^^ At this early stage, however, Deutsch did 
not tell Philby that he was embarking on a career as a 
Soviet agent. Instead, he gave him the initial impression 
that he was joining Comintern’s underground war against 
international fascism. Philby’s immediate task, Deutsch 
told him, was to break all visible contact with the 
Communist Party and to try to win the confidence of 
British pro-German and pro-fascist circles. As was not 
uncommon at this period, Philby’s first codename, given 
him immediately after his meeting with Deutsch, had two 

versions: SOHNCHEN in German or SYNOK in Russian 
— ^both roughly equivalent to “Sonny” in English.^ ^ 

Half a century later, Philby still remembered his first 
meeting with the man he knew as “Otto” as “amazing”: 

He was a marvelous man. Simply marvelous. I felt 
that immediately. And [the feeling] never left me ... 
The first thing you noticed about him were his eyes. 
He looked at you as if nothing more important in life 
than you and talking to you existed at that moment ... 
And he had a marvelous sense of humor.^^ 

It is difficult to imagine any other controller in the entire 
history of the KGB as ideally suited as Deutsch to the 
Cambridge Five. Though four of the Five graduated from 
Cambridge with first-class honors, Deutsch’ s academic 
career was even more brilliant than theirs, his 
understanding of human character more profound and his 
experience of life much broader. He combined a 
charismatic personality and deep psychological insight 
with visionary faith in the future of a human race freed 
from the exploitation and alienation of the capitalist 
system. His message of liberation had all the greater 
appeal to the Cambridge Five because it had a sexual as 
well as a political dimension. All the Five were rebels 
against the strict sexual mores as well as the antiquated 
class system of inter-war Britain. Burgess and Blunt were 
homosexuals, Maclean a bisexual and Philby a 

heterosexual athlete. Caimcross, a committed 
heterosexual, later wrote a history of polygamy which 
concluded with a quotation from George Bernard Shaw: 
“Women will always prefer a 10 percent share of a first- 
rate man to sole ownership of a mediocre man.”^^ 
Caimcross plainly considered himself first-rate rather than 
mediocre. Graham Greene was charmed by Caimcross ’s 
book. “Here at last,” he wrote to Caimcross, “is a book 
which will appeal strongly to all polygamists.”^^ 

During almost four years as an illegal controlling 
British agents, Deutsch served under three illegal 
residents, each of whom operated under a variety of 
aliases: Ignati Reif, codenamed MARR; Aleksandr Orlov, 
codenamed SCHWED (“Swede”); and Teodor Maly, 
successively codenamed PAUL, THEO and MANN. By 
1938 all three were to become victims of the Terror. Reif 
and Maly were shot for imaginary crimes. Orlov defected 
just in time to North America, securing his survival by 
threatening to arrange for the revelation of all he knew 
about Soviet espionage should he be pursued by an 
NKVD assassination squad.^^ Somewhat misleadingly, a 
KGB/S VR- sponsored biography of Orlov published in 
1993 claimed that he was “the mastermind” responsible 
for the recmitment of the Cambridge agents. There are 
probably two reasons for this exaggeration. The first is 
hierarchical. Within the Soviet nomenklatura senior 
bureaucrats commonly claimed, and were accorded, the 

credit for their subordinates’ successes. The claim that 
Orlov, the most senior intelligence officer involved in 
British operations in the 1930s, “recruited” Philby is a 
characteristic example of this common phenomenon.^^ 
But there are also more contemporary reasons for the 
inflation of Orlov’s historical importance. It suits the 
SVR, which sees itself as the inheritor of the finest 
traditions of the KGB First Chief Directorate, to seek to 
demonstrate the foolishness of Western intelligence and 
security services by claiming that they failed for over 
thirty years to notice that the leading recruiter of the 
Cambridge Five and other agents was living under their 
noses in the United States. For several years before his 
death in 1973, the KGB tried to persuade Orlov to return 
to a comfortable flat and generous pension in Russia, 
where he would doubtless have been portrayed for 
propaganda purposes as a man who, despite being forced 
to flee from Stalin’s Terror, had — like Philby — “kept faith 
with Lenin’s Revolution” and used his superior 
intelligence training to take in Western intelligence 
agencies for many years. 

In reality, Orlov spent only just over a year in London 
— ten days in July 1934, followed by the period from 
September 1934 to October 1935.^^ During that period 
Deutsch, who was subordinate in rank to Orlov, had to 
seek his approval for his intelligence operations. On 
occasion Orlov took the initiative in giving instructions to 

Deutsch. But the files noted by Mitrokhin make clear that 
the grand strategy which led to the targeting of Philby and 
other young Cambridge high-fliers was devised not by 
Orlov but by Deutsch.^ ^ And, as Philby himself 
acknowledged, no other controller equaled Deutsch’ s 
tactical skill in implementing that strategy. 

Philby’ s first major service to Soviet intelligence was 
to direct Deutsch to two other potential Cambridge 
recruits, Donald Maclean and Guy Burgess. If not 
already a committed Communist by the time he entered 
Trinity Hall, Cambridge, in 1931, Donald Maclean 
became one during his first year. As the handsome, 
academically gifted son of a former Liberal cabinet 
minister, Maclean must have seemed to Deutsch an 
almost ideal candidate to penetrate the corridors of power. 
On his graduation with first-class honors in modem 
languages in June 1934, however, Maclean showed no 
immediate sign of wanting a career in Whitehall. His 
ambition was either to teach English in the Soviet Union 
or to stay at Cambridge to work for a PhD. In the course 
of the summer he changed his mind, telling his mother 
that he intended to prepare for the Foreign Office entrance 
examinations in the following year.^^ That change of 
heart reflected the influence of Deutsch. The first 
approach to Maclean was made through Philby in August 
1934. Deutsch reported that Philby had been instmcted to 
meet Maclean, discuss his job prospects and contacts and 

ask him to open contact with the Communist Party and 
begin work for the NKVD. Maclean agreed. For the time 
being, however, the Centre refused to sanction meetings 
between Deutsch and Maclean, and contact with him for 
the next two months was maintained through Philby. 
Maclean’s first codename, like Philby’ s, had two 
versions: WAISE in German, SIROTA in Russian — ^both 
meaning “Orphan” (an allusion to the death of his father 
two years earlier). 

For some months Guy Burgess, then in his second year 
as a history research student at Trinity College preparing a 
thesis he was never to complete, had been enthused by the 
idea of conducting an underground war against fascism on 
behalf of the Communist International. Ironically, in view 
of the fact that he was soon to become one of the 
Magnificent Five, he seems to have been inspired by the 
example of the Filnfergruppen, the secret “groups of five” 
being formed by German Communists to organize 
opposition to Hitler. Maclean was, very probably, among 
the Communist friends with whom he discussed the (in 
reality rather unsuccessful) German groups of five.^^ 
When Maclean admitted, against his instructions, that he 
had been asked to engage in secret work,^^ Burgess was 
desperate for an invitation to join him. 

In December 1934 Maclean arranged a first meeting 
between Deutsch and Burgess. Deutsch already knew 
that Burgess was one of the most flamboyant figures in 

Cambridge: a brilliant, gregarious conversationalist 
equally at home with the teetotal intellectual discussions 
of the Apostles, the socially exclusive and heavy-drinking 
Pitt Club and the irreverent satirical revues of the 
Footlights. He made no secret either of his Communist 
sympathies or of his enjoyment of the then illegal 
pleasures of homosexual “rough trade” with young 
working-class men. A more doctrinaire and less 
imaginative controller than Deutsch might well have 
concluded that the outrageous Burgess would be a 
liability rather than an asset. But Deutsch may well have 
sensed that Burgess’s very outrageousness would give 
him good, if unconventional, cover for his work as a 
secret agent. No existing stereotype of a Soviet spy 
remotely resembled Burges s.^^ When invited to join the 
Comintern’s underground struggle against fascism, 
Burgess told Deutsch that he was “honored and ready to 
sacrifice everything for the cause.” His codename 
MADCHEN^^ (“Little Girl,” by contrast with Philby’s 
codename “Sonny”) was an obvious reference to his 

Deutsch initially told both Maclean and Burgess, like 
Philby, that their first task was to distance themselves 
from the left and conform to the ideas of the 
establishment in order to penetrate it successfully.^^ 
Maclean successfully persuaded his mother. Lady 
Maclean, that he had “rather gone off’ his undergraduate 

flirtation with Communism. In August 1935 he passed the 
Foreign Office exams with flying colors. When asked 
about his “Communist views” at Cambridge, Maclean 
decided to “brazen it out”: 

“Yes,” I said, “I did have such views — and I haven’t 
entirely shaken them off.” I think they must have 
liked my honesty because they nodded, looked at 
each other and smiled. Then the chairman said: 
“Thank you, that will be all, Mr. Maclean. 

In October 1935, as a new member of His Majesty’s 
Diplomatic Service, Maclean became the first of the 
Magnificent Five to penetrate the corridors of power. 

Burgess went about burying his Communist past with 
characteristic flamboyance. Late in 1935 he became 
personal assistant to the young rightwing gay 
Conservative MP Captain “Jack” Macnamara. Together 
they went on fact-finding missions to Nazi Germany 
which, according to Burgess, consisted largely of 
homosexual escapades with like-minded members of the 
Hitler Youth. Burgess built up a remarkable range of 
contacts among the continental “Homintem.” Chief 
among them was Edouard Pfeiffer, chef de cabinet to 
Edouard Daladier, French war minister from January 
1936 to May 1940 and prime minister from April 1938 to 
March 1940. Burgess boasted to friends that, “He and 
Pfeiffer and two members of the French cabinet ... had 

spent an evening together at a male brothel in Paris. 
Singing and dancing, they had danced around a table, 
lashing a naked boy, who was strapped to it, with leather 

In February 1935 there was a security alert at the 
London illegal residency. Reif, operating under the alias 
“Max Wolisch,” was summoned for an interview at the 
Home Office and observed a large file in the name of 
Wolisch on his interviewer’s desk. Orlov reported to the 
Centre that the British authorities appeared to have been 
“digging around but could not come up with anything and 
decided to get rid of him.” Reif obeyed Home Office 
instructions to arrange for his prompt departure. Orlov 
feared that MI5 might also be on the trail of Deutsch and 
announced that as a precaution he was taking personal 
control of Philby, Maclean and Burgess, by now 
sometimes referred to as the “Three Musketeers.” Orlov 
believed that his own cover as an American businessman 
selling imported refrigerators from an office in Regent 
Street was still secure. In October, however, there was 
another security alert when he accidentally encountered a 
man who, some years earlier, had given him English 
lessons in Vienna and knew his real identity. Orlov made 
a hasty exit from London, never to return, leaving 
Deutsch to resume the running of the Cambridge 

Under Deutsch ’s control, Philby, Maclean and Burgess 
rapidly graduated as fully fledged Soviet agents. They 

may not have been told explicitly that they were working 
for the NKVD rather than assisting Comintern in its 
underground struggle against fascism, but they no longer 
needed formal notification. As Deutsch wrote later in a 
report for the Centre, “They all know that they are 
working for the Soviet Union. This was absolutely 
understood by them. My relations with them were based 
upon our Party membership.” In other words, Deutsch 
treated them not as subordinate agents but as comrades 
working under his guidance in a common cause and for 
the same ideals. Later, less flexible controllers than 
Deutsch were unhappy that Philby, Burgess and Maclean 
appeared to consider themselves as officers, rather than 
agents, of Soviet intelligence.^^ It came as a considerable 
shock to Philby after his defection to Moscow in 1963 to 
discover that, like other foreign agents, he did not possess, 
and would never be allowed to acquire, officer rank — 
hence his various attempts to mislead Western journalists 
into believing that he was Colonel, or even General, 
Philby of the KGB.^^ In his memoirs, published in 1968, 
Philby repeated the lie that he had “been a Soviet 
intelligence officer for some thirty-odd years. 

AFTER THE SECURITY scares of 1935, Deutsch and 
the illegal residency took increased precautions to evade 
MI5 and Special Branch surveillance. Before preparing 
for a meeting with an agent, usually in London, Deutsch 

would be driven out of town, watching carefully to see if 
the car was being followed. Once satisfied that he was not 
being tailed, he returned to London by public transport, 
changing several times en route. During his travels 
Deutsch concealed film of secret documents inside 
hairbrushes, travel requisites and household utensils. 
Reports to the Centre were usually sent in secret ink to an 
address in Copenhagen for forwarding to Moscow.^^ 
Though the KGB and SVR released interesting material 
in the early 1990s on the “Three Musketeers,” they 
avoided any reference to Norman John (“James”) 
Klugmann, recruited by Deutsch in 1936.^^ Klugmann 
and the young Marxist poet John Comford, “James and 
John,” were the two most prominent Communist Party 
activists in Cambridge. Though Comford was killed in the 
Spanish Civil War in 1937, just after his twenty-first 
birthday, Klugmann went on to become head of the 
Party’s Propaganda and Education Department, a member 
of the political committee (in effect its Politburo) and the 
Party’s official historian. He had become a Communist at 
Gresham’s School, Holt, where he had been a friend and 
contemporary of Donald Maclean. Klugmann won an 
open scholarship in modem languages to Trinity College, 
Maclean a slightly less prestigious exhibition to the 
neighboring Trinity Hall. Both graduated with first-class 
honors. Like Maclean, Anthony Blunt’s conversion to 
Communism owed something to Klugmann’ s influence. 
Blunt found him “an extremely good political theorisf’ 

who “ran the administration of the Party with great skill 
and energy ... It was primarily he who decided what 
organizations and societies in Cambridge were worth 
penetrating [by the Communists].”^^ Klugmann had an 
unshakable conviction that British capitalism was close to 
collapse. “We simply knew, all of us, that the revolution 
was at hand,” he later recalled. “If anyone had suggested 
it wouldn’t happen in Britain for say thirty years. I’d have 
laughed myself sick.”^^ 

Since Klugmann was one of Britain’s most active 
young Communists, there was little prospect that, like the 
Five, he could convincingly distance himself from the 
Party and penetrate the “bourgeois apparatus.” Deutsch 
saw another role for Klugmann: as a talent- spotter for the 
NKVD, capable, when necessary, of persuading 
Communist students to engage in underground work 
rather than conventional Party militancy. Before Deutsch 
recruited Klugmann, the NKVD obtained the approval of 
the British Party leadership. There was never any 
likelihood that the British general secretary, Harry Pollitt, 
would object. Like most Western Communist leaders he 
believed that the interests of the Communist International 
required unconditional support for the Soviet Union, 
whatever the twists of policy in the Kremlin. With 
Pollitt’ s consent, Klugmann was recruited by Deutsch as 
agent MER.^^ The refusal by the SVR until 1998 to admit 
Klugmann’ s recruitment was due to the involvement of 

the British Communist Party. One of the KGB’s most 
closely guarded secrets was the extent to which, as late as 
the 1980s, it expected the leaders of “fraternal parties” in 
the West to assist in the recruitment of agents and the 
fabrication of “legends” for its illegals. 

IN THE SPRING of 1936 the Centre appointed another of 
the Great Illegals, Teodor Maly (codenamed MANN), 
head of the illegal London residency. Like Deutsch, 
Maly was later included among the intelligence immortals 
whose portraits hung on the walls of the First Chief 
Directorate Memory Room. Hungarian by birth, Maly had 
entered a Catholic monastic order before the First World 
War but had volunteered for military service in 1914.^^ 
He was taken prisoner while serving as second lieutenant 
in the Austro-Hungarian army on the Russian front in 
1916, and spent the rest of the war in a series of POW 
camps. Maly later told one of his agents: 

I saw all the horrors, young men with frozen limbs 
dying in the trenches ... I lost my faith in God and 
when the Revolution broke out I joined the 
Bolsheviks. I broke with my past completely ... I 
became a Communist and have always remained 

Maly was originally posted to London in January 1936 
to run the Foreign Office with cipher clerk Captain King 

(previously controlled by Pieck), to whom he introduced 
himself as an executive of the fictitious Dutch bank which 
King believed was paying him for classified documents. 
In April Maly was appointed illegal resident and 
henceforth shared with Deutsch in the running of the 
Cambridge agents. Like Deutsch, he impressed them with 
both his human sympathy and his visionary faith in the 
Communist millennium. 

During the early months of 1937 Deutsch and Maly 
completed the recruitment of the Magnificent Five. At the 
beginning of the year, Burgess, by then a producer at the 
BBC, arranged a first meeting between Deutsch and 
Anthony Blunt, French linguist, art historian and Fellow 
of Trinity College, Cambridge. Though the title of 
“Fourth Man” later accorded Blunt was a media invention 
rather than a KGB sobriquet, he was both the fourth of the 
Five to be recruited and, over forty years later, the fourth 
to be publicly exposed. Until the war Blunt’s chief role 
for the NKVD was that of talent- spotter. His first recruit, 
by agreement with Deutsch, was a wealthy young 
American Communist undergraduate at Trinity, Michael 
Straight (codenamed NIGEL). Shortly after his own first 
meeting with Deutsch, Blunt invited Straight to his 
elegant rooms in Trinity. Straight was still shattered by 
the news a fortnight earlier that his close friend, John 
Comford, had died a hero’s death in the Spanish Civil 
War. “Our friends,” Blunt told him, had been giving much 

thought to his future. “They have instructed me to tell you 
... what you must do.” “What friends?” Straight asked. 
“Our friends in the International, the Communist 
International,” Blunt replied. The “friends” had decided 
that Straight’s duty was to break all overt connection with 
the Party, get a job in Wall Street after his graduation later 
that year and provide Comintern with inside information. 
Straight protested. Comford had given his life for the 
International. “Remember that,” Blunt told him. A few 
days later. Straight agreed. “In the course of a week,” 
Straight wrote later, “I had moved out of the noisy, 
crowded world of Cambridge into a world of shadows and 
echoes.” His only meeting with Deutsch, whom he 
mistook for a Russian, took place in London just after his 
graduation. Deutsch asked him for some personal 
documents. Straight gave him a drawing. Deutsch tore it 
in two, gave him one halfback and told him the other half 
would be returned to him by a man who would contact 
him in New York. 

The last of the Magnificent Five to be recruited, and 
later the last to be publicly exposed, was the “Fifth Man,” 
John Caimcross, a brilliant Scot who in 1934 had entered 
Trinity at the age of twenty-one with a scholarship in 
modem languages, having already studied for two years at 
Glasgow University and gained a licence es lettres at the 
Sorbonne.^^ His passionate Marxism led the Trinity 
Magazine to give him the nickname “The Fiery Cross,” 
while his remarkable facility as a linguist led the same 

magazine to complain, “Caimcross ... learns a new 
language every fortnight.” Among his college teachers 
in French literature was Anthony Blunt, though 
Caimcross later claimed that they never discussed 
Communism.^^ In 1936, after graduating with first-class 
honors, Caimcross passed top of the Foreign Office 
entrance examinations, one hundred marks ahead of the 
next candidate (though he did less well at the 

After Blunt had acted as talent- spotter, the initial 
approach to Caimcross early in 1937 was entmsted by 
Deutsch to Burgess^^ — much as Philby had made the first 
recmitment overture to Maclean in 1934. The actual 
recmitment of Caimcross shortly afterwards was 
entmsted to James Klugmann.^^ On April 9 Maly 
informed the Centre that Caimcross had been formally 
recmited and given the codename MOLIERE.^^ Had 
Caimcross known his codename, he might well have 
objected to its transparency but would undoubtedly have 
found appropriate the choice of his favorite French writer, 
on whom he later published two scholarly studies in 
French. For reasons not recorded in KGB files, the 
codename MOLIERE was later replaced by that of 
LISZT. In May Klugmann arranged Caimcross ’s first 
rendezvous with Deutsch. According to Caimcross ’s 
admittedly unreliable memoirs, the meeting took place 
one evening in Regent’s Park: 

Suddenly there emerged from behind the trees a 
short, stocky figure aged around forty, whom 
Klugmann introduced to me as Otto. Thereupon, 
Klugmann promptly disappeared 

Deutsch reported to Moscow that Caimcross “was very 
happy that we had established contact with him and was 
ready to start working for us at once.”^^ 

Among the pre- Second World War Foreign Office 
documents available to both Maclean and Caimcross, and 
thus to the NKVD, were what Caimcross described as “a 
wealth of valuable information on the progress of the 
Civil War in Spain. Only in a few cases, however, is it 
possible to identify individual documents supplied by 
Maclean and Caimcross which the Centre forwarded to 
Stalin, probably in the form of edited extracts. One such 
document, which seems to have made a particular 
impression on Stalin, is the record of talks with Hitler in 
November 1937 by Lord Halifax, Lord President of the 
Council (who, three months later, was to succeed Eden as 
Foreign Secretary). Halifax’s visit to Hitler’s mountain 
lair, the “Eagle’s Nesf’ at Berchtesgaden, got off to a 
farcical start. As the aristocratic Halifax stepped from his 
car, he mistook Hitler for a footman and was about to 
hand him his hat and coat when a German minister hissed 
in his ear, “Der Fuhrer! Der Fuhrer! The Centre, 
however, saw the whole meeting as deeply sinister. The 

extracts from Halifax’s record of his talks with Hitler, 
tailored to fit Stalin’s profound distrust of British policy, 
emphasized that Britain viewed Nazi Germany as “the 
bastion of the West against Bolshevism” and would take a 
sympathetic view of German expansion to the east7^ 
Though Halifax’s assessment of Hitler, whom he regarded 
as “very sincere,” was lamentably naive, his record of his 
comments on Germany’s role in defending the West 
against Communism were much more qualified than the 
Centre’s version of them. He told Hitler: 

Although there was much in the Nazi system that 
offended British opinion (treatment of the Church; to 
a perhaps lesser extent, the treatment of Jews; 
treatment of Trade Unions), I was not blind to what 
he had done for Germany and to the achievement 
from his point of view of keeping Communism out 
of his country and, as he would feel, of blocking its 
passage West. 

Halifax also said nothing to support German 
aggression in eastern Europe. His aim — unrealistic 
though it was — ^was to turn Hitler into “a good 
European” by offering him colonial concessions in 
order to persuade him to limit his European 
ambitions to those he could achieve peacefully. 
Halifax made clear, however, that Britain was 
prepared to contemplate the peaceful revision of 

I said that there were no doubt ... questions arising 
out of the Versailles settlement which seemed to us 
capable of causing trouble if they were unwisely 
handled, e.g. Danzig, Austria, Czechoslovakia. On 
all these matters we were not necessarily concerned 
to stand for the status quo as today, but we were 
concerned to avoid such trouble of them as would be 
likely to cause trouble. If reasonable settlements 
could be reached with the free assent and goodwill of 
those primarily concerned we certainly had no desire 
to block them. 

Such statements were music to Hitler’s ears — not because 
he was interested in the peaceful revision of Versailles, 
but because he interpreted Halifax’s rather feeble attempt 
at conciliation as evidence that Britain lacked the nerve to 
fight when the time came for him to begin a war of 
conquest. Stalin, characteristically, saw a much more 
sinister purpose behind Halifax’s remarks and persuaded 
himself that Britain had deliberately given the green light 
to Nazi aggression in the east. The Foreign Office 
documents supplied by Maclean and Caimcross which 
recorded British attempts to appease Hitler were used by 
the Centre to provide the evidence which Stalin demanded 
of a deep-laid British plot to turn Hitler on the Soviet 

THOUGH KIM PHILBY ultimately became the most 

important of the Magnificent Five, his career took off 
more slowly than those of the other four. He abandoned 
an attempt to join the civil service after both his referees 
(his Trinity director of studies and a family friend) warned 
him that, while they admired his energy and intelligence, 
they would feel bound to add that his “sense of political 
injustice might well unfit him for administrative work.” 
His only minor successes before 1937 were to gain a job 
on an uninfluential liberal monthly, the Review oj 
Reviews, and become a member of the Anglo-German 
Fellowship, contemptuously described by Churchill as the 
“Heil Hitler Brigade.” As Philby later acknowledged, he 
would often turn up for meetings with Deutsch “with 
nothing to offer” and in need of reassurance. The outbreak 
of the Spanish Civil War gave him his first important 
intelligence mission. He eventually persuaded a London 
news agency to give him a letter of accreditation as a 
freelance war correspondent and arrived in Spain in 
February 1937. “My immediate assignment,” he wrote 
later in his memoirs, “was to get first-hand information on 
all aspects of the fascist war effort.” As usual, his 
memoirs fail to tell the whole truth.^^ 

A few weeks after Philby ’s departure, the London 
illegal residency received instructions, undoubtedly 
approved by Stalin himself, to order Philby to assassinate 
General Francisco Franco, leader of the nationalist 
forces. Maly duly passed on the order but made clear to 
the Centre that he did not believe Philby capable of 

fulfilling Philby arrived back in London in May 
without even having set eyes on Franco and, Maly told 
the Centre, “in a very depressed state.” Philby’ s fortunes 
improved, however, after he was taken on by The Times 
as one of its two correspondents in nationalist Spain. At 
the end of the year he became a minor war hero. Three 
journalists sitting in a car in which he had been traveling 
were fatally injured by an artillery shell. Philby himself 
was slightly wounded. He reported modestly to Times 
readers, “Your correspondent ... was taken to a first aid 
station where light head injuries were speedily treated.” 
“My wounding in Spain,” wrote Philby later, “helped my 
work — ^both journalism and intelligence — no end.” For 
the first time he gained access to Franco, who on March 
2, 1938 pinned on his breast the Red Cross of Military 
Merit. Then, as Philby reported, “all sorts of doors opened 
for me.”^^ 

The doors, however, opened too late. By the time 
Philby gained access to Franco, the NKVD assassination 
plot had been abandoned. Since the spring of 1937 the 
Centre had been increasingly diverted from the war 
against Franco by what became known as the civil war 
within the Civil War. The destruction of Trotskyists 
became a higher priority than the liquidation of Franco. 
By the end of 1937 the hunt for “enemies of the people” 
abroad took precedence over intelligence collection. The 
remarkable talents of the Magnificent Five had yet to be 

fully exploited. INO was in turmoil, caught up in the 
paranoia of the Great Terror, with most of its officers 
abroad suspected of plotting with the enemy. The age of 
the Great Illegals was rapidly drawing to a brutal close. 



Though “special tasks” only began to dominate NKVD 
foreign operations in 1937, the problem of “enemies of 
the people” abroad had loomed steadily larger in Stalin’s 
mind since the early 1930s as he became increasingly 
obsessed with the opposition to him inside the Soviet 
Union. The most daring denunciation of the growing 
brutality of Stalin’s Russia was a letter of protest sent to 
the Central Committee in the autumn of 1932 by a former 
Party secretary in Moscow, Mikhail Ryutin, and a small 
band of supporters. The “Ryutin platform,” whose text 
was made public only in 1989, contained such an 
uncompromising attack on Stalin and the horrors which 
had accompanied collectivization and the First Five Year 
Plan over the previous few years that some Trotskyists 
who saw the document believed it was an OGPU 
provocation.^ It denounced Stalin as “the evil genius of 
the Russian Revolution, motivated by vindictiveness and 
lust for power, who has brought the Revolution to the 
edge of the abyss,” and demanded his removal from 
power: “It is shameful for proletarian revolutionaries to 

tolerate any longer Stalin’s yoke, his arbitrariness, his 
scorn for the Party and the laboring masses.”^ 

At a meeting of the Politburo Stalin called for Ryutin’s 
execution. Only Sergei Mironovich Kirov dared to 
contradict him. “We mustn’t do that!” he insisted. “Ryutin 
is not a hopeless case, he’s merely gone astray.” For the 
time being Stalin backed down and Ryutin was sentenced 
to ten years in jail.^ Five years later, during the Great 
Terror, when Stalin had gained the virtually unchallenged 
power of life and death over Soviet citizens, Ryutin was 

During the early 1930s Stalin lost whatever capacity he 
had once possessed to distinguish personal opponents 
from “enemies of the people.” By far the most dangerous 
of these enemies, he believed, were the exiled Leon 
Trotsky (codenamed STARIK, “Old Man,” by the 
Centre)^ and his followers. “No normal ‘constitutional’ 
paths for the removal of the governing [Stalinist] clique 
now remain,” wrote Trotsky in 1933. “The only way to 
compel the bureaucracy to hand over power to the 
proletarian vanguard is by force.” Henceforth Stalin used 
that assertion to argue that the Soviet state was faced with 
a threat of forcible overthrow, which must itself be 
forcibly prevented.^ 

Opposition to Stalin resurfaced at the 1934 Party 
Congress, though in so muted a form that it passed 
unnoticed by the mass of the population. In the elections 

to the Central Committee, Stalin polled several hundred 
votes fewer than Kirov, who was assassinated, probably 
on Stalin’s orders, at the end of the year. What 
increasingly obsessed Stalin, however, were less the 
powerless remnants of real opposition to him than the 
gigantic, mythical conspiracy by imperialist secret 
services and their Trotskyist hirelings. Though the 
paranoid strain in what Khrushchev later called Stalin’s 
“sickly suspicious” personality does much to explain his 
obsession with conspiracy theory, there was an 
impeccable Leninist logic at the heart of that obsession. 
Stalin claimed Lenin’s authority for his insistence that it 
was impossible for the imperialists not to attempt to 
overthrow the world’s first and only worker-peasant state: 

We are living not only in a State, but in a system of 
States, and the existence of the Soviet Republic side 
by side with imperialist States is in the long run 
unthinkable. But until that end comes, a series of the 
most terrible clashes between the Soviet Republic 
and bourgeois States is unavoidable. 

It was equally inevitable, Stalin argued, that the enemies 
without would conspire with traitors within. Only “blind 
braggarts or concealed enemies of the people,” he 
declared, would dispute this elementary logic. ^ Those 
who disagreed thus automatically branded themselves as 

Despite Stalin’s increasing obsession during the 1930s 
with Trotskyist conspiracy, Trotsky never really 
represented any credible threat to the Stalinist regime. He 
spent his early years in exile trying vainly to find a 
European base from which to organize his followers. In 
1933 he left Turkey for France, then two years later 
moved on to Norway, but his political activity in all three 
countries was severely restricted by the reluctant host 
governments. In 1937, having finally despaired of finding 
a European headquarters, Trotsky left for Mexico, where 
he remained until his assassination three years later. The 
chief European organizer of the Trotskyist movement for 
most of the 1930s was not Trotsky himself but his elder 
son. Lev Sedov, who from 1933 was based in Paris. It was 
Sedov who, until his death in 1938, organized publication 
of his father’s Bulletin of the Opposition and maintained 
contact with Trotsky’s scattered supporters. Sedov’s 
entourage, like his father’s, was penetrated by the OGPU 
and NKVD. From 1934 onwards his closest confidant and 
collaborator in Paris was an NKVD agent, the Russian- 
born Polish Communist Mark Zborowski, known to 
Sedov as etienne and successively codenamed by the 
Center MAKS, MAK, TULIP and KANT. Sedov trusted 


“Etienne” so completely that he gave him the key to his 
letterbox, allowed him to collect his mail and entrusted 
him with Trotsky’s most confidential files and archives 
for safekeeping.^ 

AS THE CHIEF headquarters of both the Trotskyist 
movement and the White Guards, Paris became for 
several years the main center of operations for the NKVD 
Administration for Special Tasks, headed by “Yasha” 
Serebryansky, which specialized in assassination and 
abduction. Serebryansky’ s illegal residency in Paris had 
other targets, too. The most prominent was the mercurial 
Jacques Doriot, a rabble-rousing orator who during the 
early 1930s was considered a likely future contender for 
the leadership of the French Communist Party. ^ In the 
early months of 1934, he aroused the ire of Moscow by 
calling on the Party to form an anti-fascist Popular Front 
with the socialists, still officially condemned in Moscow 
as “social fascists.” Doriot was summoned to Moscow to 
recant but refused to go. He was expelled from the Party 
for indiscipline in June 1934, ironically at the very 
moment when the Communist International, in a rapid 
volte-face instantly accepted by the French Communist 
Party, decided in favor of a Popular Front policy. 

Doriot responded with a series of increasingly bitter 
attacks on both Stalin’s “oriental” despotism and the 
French Communist leadership, whom he derided as 
“Stalin’s slaves.” The Centre, fearing the effect of 
Doriot’ s impassioned and now subversive oratory on the 
French left, ordered Serebryansky to keep him under 
continuous surveillance. In 1935, after almost the whole 
non-Communist press had publicized Doriot ’s revelation 
that the French Communist Party received secret 

instructions and funds from Moscow, the Centre 
instructed Serebryansky to draw up plans for his 
liquidation.^ The order to go ahead with the assassination 
seems never to have been given, perhaps because of the 
triumph of the Popular Front in the 1936 elections and 
Doriot’s foundation soon afterwards of the neofascist 
Parti Populaire Fran^ais. Doriot’s public vindication of 
the Communist charge that he was a fascist collaborator 
provided the Centre with a propaganda victory which his 
assassination would have spoiled rather than enhanced. 

Among other assassinations which Serebryansky was 
ordered to organize was that of the leading Nazi Hermann 
Goering, who was reported to be planning a visit to Paris. 
The Administration for Special Tasks ordered its Paris 
residency to recruit a sniper and find a way of infiltrating 
him into the airport, probably Le Bourget, at which 
Goering was expected to land. ^ ^ Goering, however, failed 
to visit France and the sniper was stood down. The files 
seen by Mitrokhin give no indication of the Centre’s 
motive in ordering an assassination which was 
undoubtedly authorized by Stalin himself. The probability 
is, however, that the main objective was to damage 
relations between France and Germany rather than to 
strike a blow against Nazism. The assassination on French 
soil in 1934 of the President of the Republic and the King 
of Yugoslavia by a non-Communist assassin doubtless 
encouraged the Centre to believe that it could avoid 

responsibility for the killing of Goering if an opportunity 

Despite the numerous other duties of Serebryansky’s 
Paris residency, its main task remained the surveillance 
and destabilization of French Trotskyists. Until 1937 Lev 
Sedov, thanks to his misplaced but total confidence in 
“Etienne” Zborowski, was such an indispensable source 
on the POLECATS (as the Trotskyists were codenamed 
by the Centre) that he was not marked down as a target 
for liquidation.^^ In the autumn of 1936 Zborowski 
warned the Centre that, because of his financial problems, 
Trotsky was selling part of his archive (formerly among 
the papers entrusted by Sedov to Zborowski for 
safekeeping) to the Paris branch of the International 
Institute of Social History based in Amsterdam. 
Serebryansky was ordered to set up a task force to recover 
it, codenamed the HENRY group. He began by renting 
the flat immediately above the institute in the rue 
Michelet in order to keep it under surveillance. On 
Serebryansky’s instructions, Zborowski, then working as 
a service engineer at a Paris telephone exchange, was 
ordered to cause a fault on the Institute’s telephone line in 
order to give him a chance to reconnoitre the exact 
location of the Trotsky papers and examine the locks. 
When the Institute reported the fault on its line, however, 
one of Zborowski ’s colleagues was sent to mend the fault 
instead. Zborowski promptly put the Institute’s phone out 
of action once again and on this occasion was called to 

make the repair himself. As he left the Institute, having 
mended the fault and closely inspected the locks to the 
front and back doors, he was given a five franc tip by the 
director, Boris Nikolayevsky, a prominent Menshevik 
emigre classed by the NKVD as an “enemy of the 

Serebryansky fixed the time for the burglary at two 
o’clock on the morning of November 7, 1936, and 
ordered it to be completed by 5 a.m. at the latest. Since 
his agents were unable to find keys to fit the Institute 
locks, he decided to cut them out with a drill powered by 
an electric transformer concealed in a box filled with 
sawdust and cotton wool to deaden the sound. The 
burglars broke in unobserved and left with Trotsky’s 
papers. Both Sedov and the Paris police immediately 
suspected the NKVD because of both the professionalism 
of the burglary and the fact that money and valuables in 
the Institute had been left untouched. Sedov assured the 


police that his assistant “Etienne” Zborowski was 
completely above suspicion, and in any case kept the 
main archive, which had not been stolen, at his home 
address. Ironically, Sedov suggested that the NKVD 
might have learned of the transfer of a part of the archive 
as the result of an indiscretion by the Institute director, 

The extraordinary importance attached by the Centre to 
the theft of the papers was demonstrated by the award of 

the Order of the Red Banner to the HENRY group. The 
operation, however, was as pointless as it was 
professional. The papers stolen from the Institute (many 
of them press cuttings) were of no operational 
significance whatever and of far less historical importance 
than the Trotsky archive which remained in Zborowski’s 
hands and later ended up at Harvard University. But by 
the mid- 1930s Stalin had lost all sense of proportion in his 
pursuit of Trotskyism in all its forms, both real and 
imaginary. Trotsky had become an obsession who 
dominated many of Stalin’s waking hours and probably 
interfered with his sleep at night. As Trotsky’s 
biographer, Isaac Deutscher, concludes: 

The frenzy with which [Stalin] pursued the feud, 
making it the paramount preoccupation of 
international communism as well as of the Soviet 
Union and subordinating to it all political, tactical, 
intellectual and other interests, beggars description; 
there is in the whole of history hardly another case in 
which such immense resources of power and 
propaganda were employed against a single 

The British diplomat R. A. Sykes later wisely described 
Stalin’s world view as “a curious mixture of shrewdness 
and nonsense. Stalin’s shrewdness was apparent in the 
way that he outmaneuvered his rivals after the death of 

Lenin, gradually acquired absolute power as General 
Secretary, and later out-negotiated Churchill and 
Roosevelt during their wartime conferences. Historians 
have found it difficult to accept that so shrewd a man also 
believed in so much nonsense. But it is no more possible 
to understand Stalin without acknowledging his addiction 
to conspiracy theories about Trotsky (and others) than it is 
to comprehend Hitler without grasping the passion with 
which he pursued his even more terrible and absurd 
conspiracy theories about the Jews. 

NKVD from 1934 to 1936, was far less obsessed by 
Trotsky than Stalin was. Stalin’s chief grudge against him 
was probably a growing conviction that he had been 
deliberately negligent in his hunt for Trotskyist traitors. 
His nemesis arrived in September 1936 in the form of a 
telegram from Stalin and his protege, Andrei Zhdanov, to 
the Central Committee declaring that Yagoda had 
“definitely proved himself incapable of unmasking the 
Trotskyite- Zinovyevite bloc” and demanding his 
replacement by Nikolai Ivanovich Yezhov. 

As head of the NKVD for the next two years, Yezhov 
carried through the largest scale peacetime political 
persecution and blood-letting in European history, known 
to posterity as the Great Terror.^ ^ One NKVD document 
from the Yezhov era, which doubtless reflected — and 
probably slavishly imitated — Stalin’s own view, asserted 

that “the scoundrel Yagoda” had deliberately concentrated 
the attack on the “lower ranks” of “the right-wing 
Trotskyite underground” in order to divert attention from 
its true leaders: Zinovyev, Bukharin, Rykov, Tomsky, 
Kamenev and Smirnov. Yagoda, it was claimed, had 
either sacked or sidelined NKVD staff who had tried to 
indict these former heroes of the Leninist era for their 
imaginary crimes. All save Tomsky, who committed 
suicide, were given starring roles in the show trials of 
1936 to 1938, gruesome morality plays which proclaimed 
a grotesque conspiracy theory uniting all opposition at 
home and abroad by the use of elegantly absurd formulae 
such as: “Trotskyism is a variety of fascism and 
Zinovyevism is a variety of Trotskyism.” In the last of the 
great show trials Yagoda, despite a plea for mercy written 
“on bended knees,” was himself unmasked as a leading 
Trotskyist conspirator. The chief author of the gigantic 
conspiracy theory, which became undisputed orthodoxy 
within the NKVD and provided the ideological 
underpinning of the Great Terror, was Stalin himself 
Stalin personally proofread the transcripts of the show 
trials before their publication, amending the defendants’ 
speeches to ensure that they did not deviate from their 
well-rehearsed confessions to imaginary conspiracies.^^ 
NKVD records of the period proclaim with characteristic 
obsequiousness that, “The practical organization of the 
work exposing the right-wing Trotskyite underground was 

supervised personally by Comrade Stalin, and in 1936-8 
crippling blows were delivered to the rabble. 

“Crippling blows” against both real and imaginary 
Trotskyist “rabble” were struck outside as well as inside 
the Soviet Union. The beginning of the Spanish Civil War 
in July 1936 opened up a major new field of operations 
for Serebryansky’s Administration for Special Tasks and 
for INO as a whole. The struggle of the Spanish 
republican government to defend itself against the 
nationalist rebellion led by General Francisco Franco fired 
the imagination of the whole of the European left as a 
crusade against international fascism: 35,000 foreign 
volunteers, most of them Communist, set out for Spain to 
join the International Brigades in defense of the republic. 
In October 1936 Stalin declared in an open letter to 
Spanish Communists: “Liberation of Spain from the yoke 
of the Spanish reactionaries is not the private concern of 
Spaniards alone, but the common cause of all progressive 
humanity.” From the outset, however, the NKVD was 
engaged in Spain in a war on two fronts: against 
Trotskyists within the republicans and the International 
Brigades, as well as against Franco and the nationalist 
forces. The former illegal resident in London, Aleksandr 
Orlov, sent to Spain as legal resident after the outbreak of 
the Civil War, confidently assured the Centre in October, 
“The Trotskyist organization POUM [Partido Obrero de 
Unificacion Marxista] can be easily liquidated. 

two-front war within Spain, Serebryansky conducted 
operations from abroad. Serebryansky organized training 
courses in Paris for saboteurs from the International 
Brigades, run by GIGI, a French Communist mechanic 
who usually worked without pay, FRANYA, a female 
Polish student paid 1,500 francs a month, and 
LEGRAND, on whom no further details are available. 
The greatest sabotage success reported by Serebryansky 
was the claim by the ERNST TOLSTY group of illegals, 
based in the Baltic and Scandinavia, to have sunk 
seventeen ships carrying arms to Franco. One of the 
leading saboteurs was a young German Communist, Ernst 
Wollweber, who twenty years later was to become head 
of the Stasi in East Germany.^^ An NKVD inquiry after 
the Civil War concluded, however, that some of the 
reports of sinkings were fabrications.^^ 

The main NKVD training grounds for guerrillas and 
saboteurs were within Spain itself at training camps 
supervised by Orlov at Valencia, Barcelona, Bilbao and 
Argen. Orlov later boasted of how his guerrilla platoons 
succeeded in blowing up power lines and bridges and in 
attacking enemy convoys far behind the nationalist lines. 
As an SVR-sponsored biography of Orlov acknowledges, 
his larger purpose was “to build up a secret police force 
under NKVD control to effect a Stalinization of Spain.” 
The chief Soviet military adviser in republican Spain, 

General Jan Berzin, formerly head of Red Army 
intelligence, complained that Orlov and the NKVD were 
treating republican Spain as a colony rather than an ally.^^ 
In the spring of 1937 Orlov and Serebryansky were 
ordered to move from the surveillance and destabilization 
of Trotskyist groups to the liquidation of their leaders. 
While Serebryansky began preparing the abduction of 
Sedov,^^ Orlov supplied the republican government with 
forged documents designed to discredit POUM as “a 
German-Francoist spy organization.” On June 16 the head 
of POUM, Andreu Nin, and forty leading members were 
arrested, its headquarters closed and its militia battalions 
disbanded. Less than a week later Nin disappeared from 
prison. An official investigation announced that he had 
escaped. In reality, he was abducted and murdered by a 
“mobile squad” of NKVD assassins, supervised by Orlov. 
Nin was one of many Trotskyists in Spain, both real and 
imagined, who met such fates. Until Orlov defected to the 
United States in 1938, fearing that he too had been placed 
on an NKVD death list, he lived in some luxury while 
organizing the liquidation of enemies of the people. A 
young volunteer in the International Brigades summoned 
to his presence was struck by how strongly he reeked of 
eau de cologne, and watched enviously as he consumed a 
large cooked breakfast wheeled in on a trolley by a 
whitecoated servant. Orlov offered none of it to the 
famished volunteer, who had not eaten for twenty-four 


Though unusually forthcoming about Orlov, who, 
because of his defection, never qualified for the KGB 
Valhalla, the SVR has been much more reluctant to 
release material on the Spanish Civil War which might 
damage the reputation of the traditional heroes of Soviet 
foreign intelligence: among them Hero of the Soviet 
Union Stanislav Alekseyevich Vaupshasov, long 
celebrated for his daring exploits behind enemy lines 
during the Second World War. With four Orders of Lenin, 
two Orders of the Great Patriotic War and a chestfiil of 
other medals, Vaupshasov was probably the Soviet 
Union’s most profusely decorated intelligence hero. As 
recently as 1990 he was honored by a commemorative 
postage stamp. Vaupshasov’ s murderous pre-war record, 
however, is still kept from public view by the SVR. In the 
mid- 1920s he led a secret OGPU unit in numerous raids 
on Polish and Lithuanian border villages, dressed in 
Polish and Lithuanian army uniforms. In 1929 
Vaupshasov was sentenced to death for murdering a 
colleague, but managed to have the sentence commuted to 
ten years in the gulag. He was quickly released and 
resumed his career as one of the NKVD’s leading experts 
in assassination. Among Vaupshasov’ s duties in Spain 
was the construction and guarding of a secret 
crematorium which enabled the NKVD to dispose of its 
victims without leaving any trace of their remains. Many 
of those selected for liquidation were lured into the 

building containing the crematorium and killed on the 

The NKVD agent in charge of the crematorium was 
Jose Castelo Pacheco (codenamed JOSE, PANSO and 
TEODOR), a Spanish Communist bom in Salamanca in 
1910, who was recmited by Orlov’s deputy resident, 
Leonid Aleksandrovich Eitingon, in 1936.^^ In 1982, 
some years after Castelo ’s death, the KGB received a 
letter from a female relative appealing for a pension and 
claiming that he had told her before his death, “If you 
have any problems and there is no other way out, I mean 
only in extreme circumstances, then contact my Soviet 
comrades.” Though Castelo ’s file showed that he had 
promised never to reveal any details of his work as a 
Soviet agent, there was an obvious risk that his relative 
had discovered his work in the NKVD crematorium. The 
Centre therefore concluded that to refuse her request 
might have “undesirable consequences.” In January 1983 
she was summoned to the consular department of the 
Soviet embassy in Madrid by the resident and told that, 
though she had no legal right to a pension, it had been 
decided to make her an ex gratia payment of 5,000 
convertible roubles, then the equivalent of 6,680 US 
dollars. No reference was made to Castelo ’s work for the 


studies of the Stalin era fail to mention the relentless 
secret pursuit of “enemies of the people” in western 
Europe. The result, all too frequently, is a sanitized, 
curiously bloodless interpretation of Soviet foreign policy 
on the eve of the Second World War which fails to 
recognize the priority given to assassination. Outside 
Spain, the main theater of operations for the NKVD’s 
assassins was France, where their chief targets were Lev 
Sedov and General Yevgeni Karlovich Miller, Kutepov’s 
successor as head of the White Guard ROVS. In the 
summer of 1937 Serebryansky devised similar plans to 
liquidate both. Sedov and Miller were each to be 
kidnapped in Paris, smuggled on board a boat waiting off 
the Channel coast, then brought to the Soviet Union for 
interrogation and retribution. The first stage in the 
abduction operations was the penetration of their 


Like Sedov’s assistant “Etienne” Zborowski, Miller’s 
deputy. General Nikolai Skoblin, was an NKVD agent. 
Probably unknown to Skoblin, Serebryansky also used an 
illegal, Mireille Lyudvigovna Abbiate (codenamed 
AVIATORSHA, “aviator’s wife”), to keep Miller under 
surveillance. Abbiate was the daughter of a French music 
teacher in St. Petersburg, bom and brought up in Russia. 
When her family returned to France in 1920, she had 
stayed in Russia and married the aviator Vasili Ivanovich 
Yermolov (hence her later codename). In 1931, when she 
traveled to France to visit her parents, she was recmited 

by the NKVD. During her visit she recruited her brother, 
Roland Lyudvigovich Abbiate, who also became an 
illegal with the codename LETCHIK (“pilot”). 
AVIATORS HA rented a flat next to General Miller, 
secretly forced an entry, stole some of his papers and 
installed a hidden microphone which enabled her to bug 
his apartment.^^ On September 22, 1937, like Kutepov 
seven years earlier. Miller disappeared in broad daylight 
on a Paris street. The Surete later concluded that Miller 
had been taken to the Soviet embassy, killed and his body 
placed in a large trunk which was then taken by a Ford 
truck to be loaded on a Soviet freighter waiting at Le 
Havre. Several witnesses reported seeing the trunk being 
loaded on board. Miller, however, was still alive inside 
the trunk, heavily drugged. Unlike Kutepov in 1930, he 
survived the voyage to Moscow, where he was 
interrogated and shot. Skoblin, who fell under immediate 
suspicion by Miller’s supporters, fled to Spain.^^ Mireille 
Abbiate, whose role went undetected, was awarded the 
Order of the Red Star, then reassigned to the operation 
against Sedov.^^ 

Planning for the abduction of Sedov was at an 
advanced stage by the time Miller disappeared. A fishing 
boat had been hired at Boulogne to take him on the first 
stage of his journey to the Soviet Union.^^ The operation, 
however, was aborted — possibly as a result of the furor 
aroused in France by the NKVD’s suspected involvement 

in Miller’s abduction. A few months later Sedov met a 
different end. On February 8, 1938 he entered hospital 
with acute appendicitis. “Etienne” Zborowski helped to 
persuade him that, to avoid NKVD surveillance, he must 
have his appendix removed not at a French hospital but at 
a small private clinic run by Russian emigres, which was 
in reality an easier target for Soviet penetration. No 
sooner had Zborowski ordered the ambulance than, as he 
later admitted, he alerted the NKVD. But, for alleged 
security reasons, he refused to reveal the address of the 
clinic to French Trotskyists. Sedov’s operation was 
successful and for a few days he seemed to be making a 
normal recovery. Then he had a sudden relapse which 
baffled his doctors. Despite repeated blood transfusions, 
he died in great pain on February 16 at the age of only 
thirty-two. The contemporary files contain no proof that 
the NKVD was responsible for his death.^^ It had, 
however, a sophisticated medical section, the Kamera, 
which experimented with lethal drugs and was capable of 
poisoning Sedov. It is certain that the NKVD intended to 
assassinate Sedov, just as it planned to kill Trotsky and 
his other leading lieutenants. What remains in doubt is 
whether Sedov was murdered by the NKVD in February 
1938 or whether he died of natural causes before he could 
be assassinated.^^ 

Sedov’s death enabled the NKVD to take a leading role 
in the Trotskyist organization. Zborowski became both 
publisher of the Bulletin of the Opposition and Trotsky’s 

most important contact with his European supporters. 
While unobtrusively encouraging internecine warfare 
between the rival Trotskyist tendencies, Zborowski 
impeccably maintained his own cover. On one occasion 
he wrote to tell Trotsky that the Bulletin was about to 
publish an article entitled “Trotsky’s Life in Danger,” 
which would expose the activities of NKVD agents in 
Mexico. In the summer of 1938 the defector Aleksandr 
Orlov, then living in the United States, sent Trotsky an 
anonymous letter warning him that his life was in danger 
from an NKVD agent in Paris. Orlov did not know the 
agent’s surname but said that his first name was Mark (the 
real first name of “Etienne” Zborowski), and gave a 
detailed description of his appearance and background. 
Trotsky suspected that this letter and others like it were 
the work of NKVD agents provocateurs. Zborowski 
agreed. When told about one of the accusations against 
him, he is reported as having given “a hearty laugh.”^^ 
Following the death of Sedov, the NKVD’s next major 
Trotskyist target in Europe was the German Rudolf 
Klement, secretary of Trotsky’s Fourth International, 
whose founding conference was due to be held later in the 
year.^^ On July 13, 1938 the NKVD abducted Klement 
from his Paris home. A few weeks later his headless 
corpse was washed ashore on the banks of the Seine. The 
founding conference of the Fourth International in 
September was a tragicomic event, attended by only 
twenty-one delegates claiming to represent mostly 

minuscule Trotskyist groups in eleven countries. The 
Russian section, whose authentic members had probably 
been entirely exterminated, was represented by 
Zborowski. The American Trotskyist Sylvia Angeloff, 
one of the conference translators, was accompanied by her 
Spanish lover, Ramon Mercader, an NKVD illegal posing 
as a Belgian journalist who was later to achieve fame as 
Trotsky’s assassin in Mexico City.^^ 

BY 1938 SEREBRYANSKY’S Administration for 
Special Tasks was the largest section of Soviet foreign 
intelligence, claiming to have 212 illegal officers 
operating in sixteen countries: the USA, France, Belgium, 
Holland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Germany, 
Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, 
Czechoslovakia and China. After Trotskyists, the largest 
number of “enemies of the people” pursued abroad by the 
NKVD during the Great Terror came from the ranks of its 
own foreign intelligence service.^^ When receiving 
reports from Moscow of show trials and the unmasking of 
their colleagues as agents of imperialist powers, 
intelligence officers stationed abroad had to pay careful 
attention not merely to what they said but also to their 
facial expressions and body language. Those who failed 
to respond with sufficiently visible or heartfelt outrage to 
the non-existent conspiracies being unveiled in Moscow 
were likely to have adverse reports sent to the Centre — 
frequently with fatal consequences. 

After the trial of Lenin’s former lieutenants Zinovyev, 
Kamenev and other “degenerates” in August 1936, the 
Centre received an outraged communication from the 
Paris legal residency regarding the unsatisfactory level of 
indignation displayed by the military intelligence officer 
Abram Mironovich Albam (codenamed BELOV): 

BELOV does not appear to feel a deep hatred or a 
sharply critical attitude towards these political 
bandits. During discussions of the trial of the 
Trotskyite-Zinovyevite bandits, he retreats into 
silence. BELOV was hoping that the sixteen 
convicted men would be shown mercy, and, when he 
read about their execution in the newspaper today, he 
actually sighed.^^ 

Albam ’s subversive sigh helped to convict not merely 
himself but also a number of his colleagues of imaginary 
crimes. His file lists thirteen of his acquaintances who 
were subsequently arrested; at least some, probably most, 
were shot. Albam’ s wife, Frida Lvovna, tried to save 
herself by disowning her arrested husband. “The most 
horrible realization for an honest Party member,” she 
wrote indignantly to the NKVD, “is the fact that he was 
an enemy of the people surrounded by other enemies of 
the people. 

Both at home and abroad the Great Terror favored the 
survival of the most morally unfit. Those who were 

quickest to denounce their colleagues for imaginary 
crimes stood the greatest chance of being among the 
minority of survivors. The fact that Yakov Surits, 
ambassador in Berlin at the beginning of the Great Terror, 
was one of the few senior diplomats to survive may well 
have owed something to his expertise in denunciation. 
Surits sought to head off denunciation by the head of the 
legal residency in his embassy, B. M. Gordon, by 
denouncing Gordon first. At the outset of the Terror, 
Surits drew to the attention of the Centre that a Soviet 
diplomat with whom Gordon was on friendly terms was a 
former Socialist Revolutionary who frequently visited 
relatives in Prague “where other SR emigres reside. 
After the show trial of the “Trotskyite-Zinovyevite 
Terrorist Center” in January 1937, Surits reported 
disturbing evidence of Gordon’s Trotskyite sympathies: 

On February 2 a Party meeting was held in the Berlin 
embassy. Gordon, B. M., the resident and 
Communist Party organizer, delivered a report on the 
trial of the Trotskyite Center. 

Gordon did not say a word about the fact that his 
rabble of bandits had a specific program of action; he 
did not say why this scum hid its program from the 
working class and from all working people; why it 
led a double life; why it went deeply underground. 

He did not dwell on the reasons why after all the 
enemies managed to cause damage for so many 


He did not deal with the question why, despite 
wrecking, sabotage, terrorism and espionage, our 
industry and transport constantly made progress and 
continue to make progress. 

He did not touch on the international significance 
of the trial. 

Surits, however, was unaware that he was himself being 
simultaneously denounced for similar failings by one of 
his secretaries, who wrote virtuously to the Centre: 

To this day the office of Comrade Surits is adorned 
with a portrait of Bukharin with the following 
inscription: “To my dear Surits, my old friend and 
comrade, with love — ^N. Bukharin.” I deliberately do 
not take it down, not because I greatly enjoy looking 
at it, but because I want to avoid the cross looks 
which Comrade Surits gave me when I removed the 
portrait of Yenukidze. 

I am waiting for him to remove it himself, since if 
Bukharin was indeed once his close friend, he must 
now be his enemy, as he has become the enemy of 
our Party and of the whole working class. The 
portrait should immediately have been thrown into 
the fire. 

That, really, is all that I considered it my Party 
duty to report to you. After the adoption of the Stalin 

Constitution [of 1936] which has granted us great 
rights and put us under great obligations, calling us 
to exercise discipline, honest work and vigilance, I 
could not remain silent about these facts. 

In 1937-8, following the recall and liquidation of all or 
most of their officers, many NKVD residencies ceased to 
function. Though the residencies in London, Berlin, 
Vienna and Tokyo did not close, they were reduced to one 
or, at the most, two officers each.^^ Most of the Great 
Illegals were purged with the rest. Among the first to fall 
under suspicion was the London head of probably the 
NKVD’s most successful illegal residency, Teodor Maly, 
whose religious background and revulsion at the use of 
terror made him an obvious suspect. He accepted the 
order to return to Moscow in June 1937 with an idealistic 
fatalism. ‘T know that as a former priest I haven’t got a 
chance,” he told Aleksandr Orlov. “But I have decided to 
go there so that nobody can say: ‘That priest might have 
been a real spy after all.’ Once in Moscow he was 
denounced as a German spy, interrogated and shot a few 
months later. Moisei Akselrod, head of the illegal 
residency in Italy and controller of DUNCAN, the most 
productive source of intelligence on Britain during the 
previous decade, was also recalled to Moscow. After a 
brief period in limbo, he too was executed as an enemy of 
the people. 

Amid the paranoia of the Great Terror, Arnold 
Deutsch’s Jewish- Austrian origins and unorthodox early 
career made him automatically suspect in the Centre. 
After the recall of Maly, Akselrod and other illegals, he 
must have feared that his own turn would not be long in 
coming. In an effort to extend his visa he had recently 
contacted a Jewish relative in Birmingham, Oscar 
Deutsch, president of a local synagogue and managing 
director of Odeon Theatres. Arnold sometimes visited his 
Birmingham relatives for Friday night sabbath dinners, 
and Oscar promised to provide work to enable him to stay 
in Britain. These contacts doubtless added to the 
suspicions of the Centre. 

Remarkably, however, Deutsch survived. He may well 
have owed his survival to the defection in July 1937 of a 
Paris-based NKVD illegal, Ignace Poretsky (alias Reiss, 
codenamed RAYMOND). Poretsky was tracked down in 
Switzerland by a French illegal in the “Serebryansky 
Service,” Roland Abbiate (alias “Rossi,” codenamed 
LETCHIK), whose sister Mireille, also in the 
“Serebryansky Service,” was simultaneously preparing 
the abduction of General Miller in Paris. To lure 
Poretsky to his death, Abbiate used one of his friends, 
Gertrude Schildbach, a German Communist refugee who 
was persuaded to write to Poretsky to say that she 
urgently needed his advice. Schildbach refused a request 
to give Poretsky a box of chocolates laced with strychnine 
(later recovered by the Swiss police), but enticed him into 

a side-road near Lausanne where Abbiate was waiting 
with a machine-gun. At the last moment Poretsky realized 
that he was being led into a trap and tried to grab hold of 
Schildbach. His bullet-ridden body was later discovered, 
clutching in one hand a strand of her greying hair.^^ 

The NKVD damage assessment after Poretsky’ s 
defection concluded that he had probably betrayed 
Deutsch, with whom he had been stationed in Paris a few 
years earlier, to Western intelligence services. Deutsch’ s 
classification as a victim of Trotskyite and Western 
conspiracy helped to protect him from charges of being 
part of that conspiracy. He was recalled to Moscow in 
November 1937, not, like Maly, to be shot, but because 
the Centre believed he had been compromised by 
Poretsky and other traitors. 

The liquidation of Maly and recall of Deutsch did 
severe and potentially catastrophic damage to the 
NKVD’s British operations. All contact was broken with 
Captain King (MAG), the cipher clerk in the Foreign 
Office recruited in 1935, since the NKVD damage 
assessment absurdly concluded that Maly “had betrayed 
MAG to the enemy. The files noted by Mitrokhin do 
not record what the damage assessment concluded about 
the Cambridge recruits, but, since Maly knew all their 
names, there were undoubtedly fears that they too had 
been compromised. Those fears must surely have been 
heightened by the defection in November of Walter 

Krivitsky, the illegal resident in the Netherlands. Though 
Krivitsky seems not to have known the names of any of 
the Cambridge Five, he knew some details about them, 
including the fact that one of them was a young journalist 
who had been sent to Spain with a mission to assassinate 

After Deutsch’s recall to Moscow, the three members 
of the Five who remained in England — Burgess, Blunt 
and Caimcross — were out of direct contact with the 
Centre for nine months. They were so highly motivated, 
however, that they continued to work for the NKVD even 
as the illegal residency which had controlled them was 
disintegrating. Burgess, who had been allowed by 
Deutsch and Maly to consider himself an NKVD officer 
rather than an agent wholly dependent on instructions 
from his controller, continued recruiting agents on his 
own initiative. He saw himself as continuing and 
developing Deutsch’s strategy of recruiting bright 
students at Oxford as well as Cambridge who could 
penetrate Whitehall. 

Burgess intended his chief talent- spotter at Oxford to 
be Goronwy Rees, a young Welsh Fellow of All Souls 
and assistant editor of the Spectator. Rees had first met 
Burgess in 1932 and, though resisting Burgess’s attempt 
to seduce him, had none the less been deeply impressed 
by him: “It seemed to me that there was something deeply 
original, something which was, as it were, his very own in 
everything he had to say.”^^ It was probably a book 

review by Rees late in 1937 which persuaded Burgess that 
he was ready for recruitment. The misery of mass 
unemployment in south Wales, wrote Rees, was 

misery of a special and peculiar kind ... and to many 
people it implies a final condemnation of the society 
which has produced it ... If you tell men and women, 
already inclined by temperament and tradition to 
revolutionary opinions, that their sufferings are 
caused by an impersonal economic system, you leave 
them but one choice. Lenin could not do better. 

One evening, probably at the beginning of 1938, sitting 
in Rees’s flat with, as usual, a bottle of whiskey between 
them, Burgess told him that his Spectator review showed 
that he had “the heart of the matter in him.” Then, 
according to Rees, he added with unusual solemnity, “I 
am a Comintern agent and have been ever since I came 
down from Cambridge. In later years Rees was to try 
to give the impression that he did not agree to become an 
agent. His KGB file makes clear that he was recruited — 
though it confirms that Burgess asked him not to work for 
the NKVD but “to help the Party. As an NKVD case 
officer with whom Burgess made contact later in the year 
reported to the Centre, he regarded Rees (henceforth 
codenamed FLEET or GROSS) as a key part of his 
Oxbridge recruitment strategy: 

The kind of work which he would do with great 
moral satisfaction and with absolute confidence in its 
success and effectiveness is the recruitment by us of 
young people graduating from Oxford and 
Cambridge Universities and preparing them to enter 
the civil service. For this kind of work he has such 
assistants as TONY [Blunt] in Cambridge and 
GROSS [Rees] in Oxford. MADCHEN [Burgess] 
always returns to this idea at every meeting ...^^ 

Though unhappy with Burgess’s undisciplined recruiting 
methods, the Centre regarded Rees as potentially an 
important agent. Three of Britain’s leading appeasers — 
Lord Halifax, the Foreign Secretary; Sir John Simon, then 
Home Secretary; and Geoffrey Dawson, editor of The 
Times — were nonresident Fellows of All Souls. The 
Center attached exaggerated importance to the fact that 
Rees met all three from time to time on high table. It also 
overestimated the influence of Rees’s friend Sir Ernest 
Swinton, a retired major-general who had been Chichele 
Professor of Military History since 1925 and was referred 
to by the Centre as “General Swinton. 

WHILE BURGESS WAS pressing ahead enthusiastically 
with his Oxbridge recruitment strategy, INO was in 
turmoil. On February 17, 1938 its head, Abram Slutsky, 
was found dead in his office, allegedly from a heart 
attack. But at his lying in state in the NKVD officers’ 

club, his senior staff noticed on his face the tell-tale signs 
of cyanide poisoning. Yagoda, meanwhile, was 
confessing at his trial to working for the German, 
Japanese and Polish intelligence services, to poisoning his 
predecessor, Menzhinsky, and to attempting to poison his 
successor, Yezhov.^^ By the end of the year, Slutsky’s 
two immediate successors as head of INO, Zelman Pasov 
and Mikhail Shpigelglas, had also been shot as enemies of 
the people. INO collapsed into such confusion during 
1938 that for 127 consecutive days not a single foreign 
intelligence report was forwarded to Stalin.^^ In 
December Yezhov was replaced as head of the NKVD by 
Lavrenti Pavlovich Beria; a few months later he was 
accused of treasonable conspiracy with Britain, Germany, 
Japan and Poland. As NKVD officers went home in the 
evening, each one must have wondered whether the knock 
at the door in the early hours would signal that his own 
doom was nigh. 

Most of the INO officers who were interrogated and 
brutally tortured during the late 1930s in the name of the 
vast conspiracy theories of Stalin and his NKVD chiefs 
did not live to tell the tale. One of the few who did was 
the first of the Great Illegals, Dmitri Bystroletov. In 1937 
Bystroletov had been sent on a mission to Berlin to 
contact a Soviet agent on the Reichswehr general staff. He 
later claimed that, before he left, he was embraced by 
Yezhov. “Be proud that we have given you one of our 

best sources,” Yezhov told him. “Stalin and your 
fatherland will not forget you.”^^ Early in 1938, however, 
Bystroletov was suspended from duty and transferred to 
the Moscow Chamber of Commerce, where he worked 
until his arrest in September.^^ During Bystroletov’ s 
interrogation by Colonel Solovyev, Yezhov entered the 
room and asked what he was accused of. When told he 
was charged with spying for four foreign powers, Yezhov 
replied “Too few!”, turned on his heels and left.^^ 

When Bystroletov refused to confess to his imaginary 
crimes, Solovyev and his assistant, Pushkin, beat him 
with a ball-bearing on the end of an iron rope, breaking 
two of his ribs and penetrating a lung. His skull was 
fractured by one of the other instruments of torture, a 
hammer wrapped in cotton wool and bandages, and his 
stomach muscles tom by repeated kicks from his 
interrogators. Convinced that he would die if the beating 
continued, Bystroletov signed a confession dictated to 
him by Solovyev. For most INO officers, torture and 
confession to imaginary crimes were followed by a short 
walk to an execution chamber and a bullet in the back of 
the head. Bystroletov, however, survived to write an 
account of his interrogation. Though sentenced to twenty 
years’ imprisonment in 1939, he was rehabilitated during 
the Second World War. By the time he was released, his 
wife, Shelmatova, sent to the gulag as the spouse of an 
enemy of the people, had killed herself by cutting her 

throat with a kitchen knife. His elderly mother poisoned 

AFTER THE DISINTEGRATION of the London illegal 
residency following the liquidation of Maly and the recall 
of Deutsch, the Centre planned to hand over the running 
of its main British agents to the legal residency at the 
Soviet embassy in Kensington. In April 1938 a new 
resident, Grigori Grafpen (codenamed SAM), arrived to 
take charge. The massacre of many of the most 
experienced INO officers had a dramatic effect on the 
quality of NKVD tradecraft. Deutsch, Orlov and Maly 
had taken elaborate precautions to avoid surveillance 
before meeting their agents. But an inexperienced 
emissary from the Centre who came to inspect Graven’s 
residency had so little idea about tradecraft that he 
assumed it was safe to operate in the immediate environs 
of the embassy. He reported naively to Moscow, “Next to 
the Embassy there is a park [Kensington Gardens] which 
is convenient ... for holding meetings with agents, as one 
can simply give the appearance of having gone out for a 
walk in this park.”^^ 

Graven’s first priority was to renew contact with 
Donald Maclean, then the most productive of the 
Cambridge Five and able to smuggle large numbers of 
classified documents out of the Foreign Office. On April 
10 a young and apparently inexperienced female NKVD 

officer, codenamed NORMA, met Maclean in the Empire 
Cinema in Leicester Square. A few days later Maclean 
came to NORMA ’s flat with a large bundle of Foreign 
Office documents which she photographed, before giving 
the undeveloped film to Grafpen for shipment to Moscow. 
Either on that occasion or soon afterwards, the young 
British agent and his Soviet case officer followed the 
photography session by going to bed together. In defiance 
of her instructions, NORMA also told Maclean, probably 
in bed, that his current codename (which he was not 
supposed to know) was LYRIC. 

In September 1938 Maclean left for his first foreign 
posting as third secretary in the Paris embassy, preceded 
by an effusive testimonial from the Foreign Office 
personnel department: 

Maclean, who is the son of the late Sir Donald 
Maclean ... has done extremely well during his first 
two years here and is one of the mainstays of the 
Western Department. He is a very nice individual 
indeed and has plenty of brains and keenness. He is, 
too, nice-looking and ought, we think, to be a 
success in Paris from the social as well as the work 
point of view.^^ 

As Maclean was leaving for Paris, the Munich crisis was 
reaching its humiliating climax with the surrender of the 
Czech Sudetenland to Nazi Germany. On September 30 

the British prime minister, Neville Chamberlain, returned 
to a hero’s welcome in London, brandishing the worthless 
piece of paper bearing Hitler’s signature which, he 
claimed, meant not only “peace with honor” but “peace 
for our time.” For the Cambridge Five, incapable of 
imagining that less than a year later Stalin would sign a 
pact with Hitler, Munich was further confirmation of the 
justice of their cause. 

During the Munich crisis Caimcross had access to 
Foreign Office files containing what Burgess described as 
“the very best information imaginable” on British policy, 
which he passed to the NKVD via Klugmann and 
Burgess. Caimcross ’s documents on the attempted 
appeasement of Germany, which reached its nadir with 
the Munich agreement, were used by the Centre to 
provide further evidence for the conspiracy theory that the 
secret aim of British foreign policy, supported by the 
French, was “to lure Germany into an attack on Russia.” 
Though the chief advocate of this theory was Stalin, it 
was also fervently espoused by INO. Throughout the Cold 
War, the claim that Britain’s aim at Munich had been not 
merely to appease Hitler but also to drive him into a 
conflict with the Soviet Union remained unchallenged 
orthodoxy among KGB historians. As late as the mid- 
1990s, Yuri Modin, the post-war controller of the Five, 
was still insisting that, “This claim was neither 
propaganda nor disinformation but the unvarnished tmth, 
proven by the documents obtained for us by Burgess” 

(chiefly, no doubt, from Caimcross).^^ 

After Maclean’s posting to Paris during the Munich 
crisis, Caimcross was intended by the Centre to succeed 
him as its chief source within the Foreign Office. The 
London resident. Graven, bungled the transition. 
Caimcross ’s prickly personality and lack of social graces 
had not won the same encomiums from his colleagues or 
the Foreign Office personnel department as Maclean’s 
more patrician manner. In December 1938 he moved to 
the Treasury. At almost the same moment as 
Caimcross ’s departure for the Treasury, though for 
unconnected reasons, Grafpen was recalled to Moscow. 
Given the atmosphere of the time, he may actually have 
been relieved, after being “unmasked” as a Trotskyist on 
his arrival, to be sentenced to only five years in a labor 
camp rather than being led to an execution cellar in the 
Lubyanka basement. En route for Moscow in December 
1938, Grafpen accompanied NORMA (renamed ADA 
since her earlier indiscretion) to Paris where she was due 
to resume contact with Maclean. ADA reported that 
Maclean was having an affair with an American student at 
the Sorbonne, Melinda Marling, whom he was later to 
marry. She also discovered that Maclean, now drinking 
heavily, had admitted that while dmnk he had told both 
his mistress and his brother that he was working for 
Soviet intelligence.^^ ADA remained in Paris, filming the 
documents provided by Maclean from embassy files, then 

passing the film to an illegal codenamed FORD for 
transmission to the Centre. 

The news in December 1938 of Maclean’s drunken 
security lapse was balanced by a spectacular success. In 
the same month Burgess reported, probably via Paris, that 
he had succeeded in joining the Secret Intelligence 
Service. He had been taken on by SIS’s newest branch. 
Section D, founded earlier in the year to devise dirty 
tricks ranging from sabotage to psychological warfare 
(delicately described as ways of “attacking potential 
enemies by means other than the operations of military 
force”) for use in a future war.^^ Instead of being elated 
by the news, however, the Centre appeared almost 
paralyzed by fear and suspicion. 

THE EXPOSURE OF two London illegal residents, Reif 
and Maly, and the legal resident. Graven, as imaginary 
enemy agents, combined with the defection of Orlov, put 
the entire future of intelligence operations in Britain in 
doubt. The illegal residency had been wound up and, with 
one exception, the staff of the legal residency were 
recalled to Moscow. The only remaining INO officer in 
London, Anatoli Veniaminovich Gorsky, was poorly 
briefed about even the most important British agents. In 
the summer of 1939, when Philby was due to return to 
London after the end of the Spanish Civil War, Gorsky 
told the Centre, “When you give us orders on what to do 

with SOHNCHEN, we would appreciate some orientation 
on him, for he is known to us only in the most general 

An assessment in the Centre concluded that intelligence 
work in Britain “was based on doubtful sources, on an 
agent network acquired at the time when it was controlled 
by enemies of the people and was therefore extremely 
dangerous.” It concluded with a recommendation to break 
contact with all British agents — the Five included. 
Though contact was not yet broken, the Five seem to have 
been held at arm’s length for most of 1939. Intelligence 
from them was accepted, often without any visible interest 
in it, while the Centre continued to debate the possibility 
that some or all were agents provocateurs. ADA reported 
that Philby “frequently” complained to Maclean about the 
NKVD’s lack of contact with, and interest in, him.^^ Fitzi 
Philby (MARY) and Edith Tudor Hart (EDITH), who 
were used by Burgess and others as couriers to make 
contact with the NKVD in Paris in 1938-9, grumbled that 
their expenses were not being paid. Gorsky reported to the 
Centre in July 1939: 

MARY announced that, as a result of a four-month 
hiatus in communications with her, we owe her and 
MADCHEN £65. 1 promised to check at home [the 
Centre] and gave him £30 in advance, since she said 
they were in material need ... MARY continues to 
live in [France] and for some reason, she says on our 

orders, maintains a large flat and so on there. 

The Centre replied: 

At one time, when it was necessary, MARY was 
given orders to keep a flat in Paris. That is no longer 
necessary. Have her get rid of the flat and live more 
modestly, since we will not pay. MARY should not 
be paid £65, since we do not feel that we owe her, 
for anything. We confirm the payment of £30. Tell 
her that we will pay no more.^^ 

To a remarkable degree, however, the ideological 
commitment of the main British agents survived the 
turmoil in the Centre. In 1938 Burgess recruited one of 
his lovers, Eric Kessler, a Swiss journalist turned 
diplomat on the staff of the Swiss embassy in London. 
Later codenamed OREND and SHVEYTSARETS 
(“Swiss”), Kessler proved a valuable source on Swiss- 
German relations. Probably in 1939, Burgess recruited 
another foreign lover, the Hungarian Andrew Revoi, later 
leader of the exiled Free Hungarians in wartime London. 
Codenamed TAFFY (“Toffee”), he was described in his 
KGB file as a pederast; the same source also claimed that 
he had “had homosexual relations with a Foreign Office 
official.” Ironically, in 1942 Burgess was also to recruit 
Revoi as an MI5 source. 

Kim and Litzi Philby, still good comrades according to 

KGB files though they both now had different partners, 
made a probably even more important recruitment in 
1939: that of the Austrian journalist H. P. Smolka, whom 
Litzi had known in Vienna. Soon after the Nazi 
Anschluss, which united Austria with Germany in 1938, 
Smolka became a naturalized British subject with the 
name of Peter Smollett. Codenamed ABO by the Centre, 
Smollett later succeeded in becoming head of the Russian 
section in the wartime Ministry of Information.^^ 

The signature of the Nazi-Soviet Non- Aggression Pact 
in Moscow on August 23, 1939 was an even bigger blow 
to the morale of the NKVD’s British agents than the 
turmoil in the Centre. Exchanging toasts with Hitler’s 
foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Stalin told 
him, ‘T can guarantee, on my word of honor, that the 
Soviet Union will not betray its partner.” The ideological 
agents recruited during the 1930s had been motivated, at 
least in part, by the desire to fight fascism. Most, after 
varying degrees of inner turmoil, overcame their sense of 
shocked surprise at the conclusion of the Nazi-Soviet 
Pact. Over the previous few years, they had become 
sufficiently indoctrinated, often self-indoctrinated, in 
Stalinist double-think to perform the intellectual 
somersaults required to sustain their commitment to the 
vision of the Soviet Union as the world’s first worker- 
peasant state, the hope of progressive mankind. 

A minority of the ideological agents in the West, 
however, were so sickened by the Nazi-Soviet Pact that 

they ended their connection with the NKVD. The most 
important of those who broke contact in Britain was 
FLEET, Goronwy Rees. During a visit to Moscow in 
1993, Rees’s daughter Jenny was informed, accurately, 
during a briefing by an SVR representative that Rees had 
refused to cooperate after the Pact: “We hear no more of 
him after that.” At the end of the briefing, Jenny Rees 
asked perceptively: “You know something else, do you, 
about Rees that you are not going to tell me?”^^ The SVR 
did indeed. The most important of the secrets that the 
SVR was unwilling to reveal was that Burgess, by now an 
SIS officer, panicked when Rees decided to break away, 
sent an urgent message to the Centre warning that Rees 
might betray both himself and Blunt, and asked for Rees 
to be assassinated. The Centre refused. Rees’s KGB file, 
however, records that he did not betray Burgess and Blunt 
because of his “old friendship” with Burgess. In an 
attempt to make betrayal less likely, Burgess told Rees 
that he too had been disillusioned by the Nazi-Soviet Pact 
and had ended illegal work for the Communist Party.^^ 
Maclean was also deeply worried by Rees’s “defection.” 
Years later, as he was beginning to crack under the strain 
of his double life as British diplomat and Soviet agent, he 
spat at Rees: “You used to be one of us, but you ratted! 

The doubts about Moscow felt by some of the NKVD’s 
British agents after the Nazi-Soviet Pact were more than 
matched by the Centre’s doubts about its agents. The 

Center launched an investigation into the possibility that 
Philby was either a German or a British agent. Since 
Philby had provided the original leads which led to the 
recruitment of Burgess and Maclean, and ultimately to all 
the Cambridge recruits, doubts about him reflected on the 
whole British agent network. The lowest point in the 
history of NKVD operations in Britain came at the 
beginning of 1940 when Gorsky, the last member of the 
London legal residency, was withdrawn to Moscow, 
leaving not a single NKVD officer active in Britain. A file 
in the KGB archives records, “The residency was 
disbanded on the instruction of Beria [head of the 
NKVD].”^^ Beria’ s reasons are not recorded, at least in 
the files examined by Mitrokhin, but chief among them 
was undoubtedly the recurrent fear that the British agent 
network was deeply suspect. In February 1940 the Centre 
issued orders for all contact with Philby to be broken 
of£99 Contact with Burgess was terminated at about the 
same time.^^^ 

DURING THE LATER 1930s the hunt for “enemies of 
the people” replaced intelligence collection as the main 
priority of NKVD foreign operations. The NKVD’s most 
active foreign intelligence agency was Serebryansky’s 
Administration for Special Tasks, whose persecution of 
INO officers steadily diminished the flow of foreign 
intelligence and degraded its analysis at the Center. Even 

the executioners abroad, however, were not immune from 
the Terror at home. Serebryansky himself became one of 
the victims of his own witch-hunt. Though he held the 
Order of Lenin for his many victories over enemies of the 
people, he was recalled to Moscow in November 1938 
and exposed as “a spy of the British and French 
intelligence services.” An inquiry later concluded that his 
network contained “a large number of traitors and plain 
gangster elements.” Though the allegations of espionage 
for Britain and France were absurd, the charge that 
Serebryansky had inflated both the size of his illegal 
network and the scale of its accomplishments in reports to 
the Centre was probably well founded. 

Serebryansky’ s successor was Pavel Anatolyevich 
Sudoplatov, who a few months earlier had assassinated 
the emigre Ukrainian nationalist leader Yevkhen 
Konovalets with an ingeniously booby-trapped box of 
chocolates. In March 1939 Sudoplatov became deputy 
head of foreign intelligence, thus bringing “special tasks” 
and INO into closer association than ever before. He 
was personally instructed by Stalin that his chief task was 
to send a task force to Mexico to assassinate Leon 
Trotsky. The killing of Trotsky, codenamed operation 
UTKA (“Duck”), had become the chief objective of 
Stalin’s foreign policy. Even after the outbreak of the 
Second World War in September 1939, discovering the 
intentions of Adolf Hitler remained a lower priority than 
arranging the liquidation of the great heretic. 

Sudoplatov’s task force was composed of Spanish and 
Mexican NKVD agents recruited during the Civil War, 
supervised by his deputy, Leonid Eitingon, whose long 
experience of “special actions” included the liquidation of 
“enemies of the people” in Spain. 

The task force consisted of three groups. The first was 
an illegal network headed by the Spanish Communist 
Caridad Mercader del Rio (codenamed MOTHER), who 
was both recruited and seduced by Eitingon, one of the 
NKVD’s most celebrated womanizers. The most 
important agent in Caridad Mercader’ s group was her son 
Ramon (codenamed RAYMOND), who traveled on a 
doctored Canadian passport in the name of Frank Jacson 
(an eccentric NKVD spelling of Jackson). Like Eitingon, 
Ramon Mercader employed seduction as an operational 
technique, using his affair with the American Trotskyist 
Sylvia Ageloff to penetrate Trotsky’s villa near Mexico 
City. His opportunity came when Ageloff began work as 
one of Trotsky’s secretaries early in 1940. Each day 
Mercader drove her to Trotsky’s villa in the morning and 
returned to collect her after work. Gradually he became a 
well-known figure with the guards and some of Trotsky’s 
entourage, who, in March 1940, allowed him into the villa 
for the first time. Mercader’ s role at this stage was still 
that of penetration agent rather than assassin, with the task 
of reporting on the villa’s defenses, occupants and 

The attack on the villa was to be led by a second group 
of agents drawn from veterans of the Spanish Civil War, 
headed by the celebrated Mexican Communist painter 
David Alfaro Siqueiros (codenamed KONE),^^^ who was 
animated by an exuberant ideological mix of art, 
revolution, Stalinism and exhibitionism. Both Mercader 
and Siqueiros were later to become well known for their 
involvement in operation UTKA. KGB files, however, 
also reveal the involvement of a shadowy third group of 
assassins headed by one of the most remarkable of all 
Soviet illegals, Iosif Romualdovich Grigulevich (then 
codenamed MAKS and FELIPE), who had taken a 
leading role in liquidating Trotskyists during the Spanish 
Civil War, as well as training saboteurs and arsonists to 
operate behind Franco’s lines. It is a measure of 
Grigulevich’ s skill in assuming false identities that, 
though bom a Lithuanian Jew,^^^ he was to succeed, a 
decade later, in passing himself off as a Costa Rican 
diplomat.^ Early in 1940 he recmited Siqueiros’s former 
pupil, the painter Antonio Pujol (codenamed JOSE), 
whom he later described as lacking in initiative but “very 
loyal, exceptionally reliable and quite bold,” to act as 
Siqueiros’s second-in-command in the assault on 
Trotsky’s villa.^^^ Grigulevich’s other recmits included 
his future wife and assistant, the Mexican Communist 
Laura Araujo Aguilar (codenamed LUISA). 

A key part of the assault plan was the infiltration in 

April 1940 of a young American agent, Robert Sheldon 
Harte (codenamed AMUR), posing as a New York 
Trotskyist, as a volunteer guard in Trotsky’s villa. Harte’s 
role was to open the main gate when the assault group 
staged its surprise attack in the middle of the night. 
Though enthusiastic, he was also naive. Grigulevich 
decided not to brief him on what would happen after he 
opened the villa gate. 

KGB records identify Grigulevich as the real leader of 
the assault on Trotsky’s villa.^^^ Grigulevich’s role in the 
attack was two-fold: to ensure that Siqueiros’s assault 
group gained entrance to the villa compound, and to try to 
inject some element of discipline into the attack. Left to 
his own devices, Siqueiros would have led the assault 
with all guns blazing but probably have made few 
attempts to cover his tracks. On the evening of May 23, 
1940 Siqueiros and a group of about twenty followers put 
on a mixture of army and police uniforms and armed 
themselves with pistols and revolvers. As they did so, 
according to one of their number, they “laughed and joked 
as if it were a feast day.”^^^ Then, with Pujol carrying the 
only machine-gun, Grigulevich and the assault group set 
off to assassinate Trotsky.^ 

On arriving at the villa in the early hours of May 24, 
Grigulevich spoke to the American volunteer guard, 
Harte, who opened the gate.^^^ The assault group raked 
the bedrooms with gun fire to such effect that the 

Mexican police later counted seventy-three bullet holes in 
Trotsky’s bedroom wall. Remarkably, however, Trotsky 
and his wife survived by throwing themselves beneath 
their bed. Though an incendiary bomb was thrown into 
the bedroom of their small grandson, he too escaped by 
hiding under his bed.^^^ Harte was shocked by the attack 
— ^particularly, perhaps, by the attempt to kill Trotsky’s 
grandchild. He angrily told the assault group that, had he 
known how they would behave, he would never have let 
them in. To prevent Harte revealing what had happened, 
he was taken away and shot.^^^ A few months later, 
Siqueiros was tracked down and arrested. Grigulevich, 
however, managed to smuggle himself, Pujol and Laura 
Araujo Aguilar out of the country without his identity 
being discovered by the Mexican police. From 1942 to 
1944 he ran an illegal residency in Argentina which, 
according to KGB files, planted more than 150 mines in 
cargoes and ships bound for Germany. 

The failure of the attack on Trotsky’s villa, followed by 
the dispersal of Siqueiros’s gunmen, led to the promotion 
of Ramon Mercader from penetration agent to assassin. 
Mercader succeeded partly because he was patient. Five 
days after the raid he met Trotsky for the first time. 
Amiable as ever, he gave Trotsky’s grandson a toy glider 
and taught him how to fly it. Over the next three months 
he paid ten visits to the villa, sometimes bringing small 
presents with him and always taking care not to overstay 

his welcome. Finally, on August 20, he brought an article 
he had written and asked for Trotsky’s advice. As Trotsky 
sat reading it at his study desk, Mercader took an icepick 
from his pocket and brought it down with all the force he 
could muster on the back of Trotsky’s skull. 

Mercader had expected Trotsky to die instantly and 
silently, thus allowing him to make his escape to a car 
nearby where his mother and her lover, Eitingon, were 
waiting. But Trotsky, though mortally wounded, let out “a 
terrible piercing cry.” (‘T shall hear that cry all my life,” 
said Mercader afterwards.) Mercader was arrested and 
later sentenced to twenty years in jail.^^^ Eitingon 
persuaded his mother to flee with him to Russia, 
promising to marry her if she did so. In Moscow Senora 
Mercader was welcomed by Beria, received by Stalin in 
the Kremlin and decorated with the Order of Lenin. But 
within a few years, abandoned by Eitingon and denied 
permission to leave Russia, she was consumed with guilt 
at having turned her son into an assassin and then leaving 
him to languish in a Mexican jail. 

Ramon Mercader kept the Stalinist faith throughout his 
twenty years in prison. History, he claimed, would see 
him as a soldier who had served the cause of the working- 
class revolution by ridding it of a traitor. KGB files reveal 
(contrary to most published accounts) that when Mercader 
was finally released and traveled to Moscow in 1960, he 
was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union, along 

with a general’s pension and a three-room apartment, and 
was personally congratulated by Khrushchev. Twenty 
years after the assassination of Trotsky, the liquidation of 
enemies of the people abroad still remained, on a reduced 
scale, a significant part of KGB foreign operations. 



During the later months of 1940, with Trotsky dead and 
the worst of the blood-letting inside INO at an end, the 
Centre sought to rebuild its foreign intelligence network. 
Until the Great Terror, all new recruits to INO had been 
trained individually at secret apartments in Moscow and 
kept strictly apart from other trainees. By 1938, however, 
so many INO officers had been unmasked as (imaginary) 
enemies of the people that the Centre decided group 
training was required to increase the flow of new recruits. 
NKVD order no. 00648 of October 3 set up the Soviet 
Union’s first foreign intelligence training school, hidden 
from public view in the middle of a wood at Balashikha, 
fifteen miles east of the Moscow ringroad. Given the 
official title Shkola Osobogo Naznacheniya (Special 
Purpose School), but better known by the acronym 
SHON, it drew its recruits either from Party and 
Komsomol members with higher education or from new 
university graduates in Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev and 

Since most of the new recruits had experienced only 

the cramped, squalid living conditions of crowded city 
apartment blocks, collective farms and army barracks, an 
attempt was made to introduce them to gracious living so 
that they would feel at ease in Western “high society.” 
Their rooms were furnished with what an official history 
solemnly describes as “rugs, comfortable and beautiful 
furniture, and tastefully chosen pictures on the walls, with 
excellent bed linens and expensive bedspreads.”^ With no 
experience of personal privacy, the trainees would have 
been disoriented by being accommodated separately even 
if space had allowed, and so were housed two to a room. 
The curriculum included four hours’ teaching a day on 
foreign languages, two hours on intelligence tradecraft, 
and lectures on the CPSU, history, diplomacy, 
philosophy, religion and painting — an eclectic mix 
designed both to reinforce their ideological orthodoxy and 
to acquaint them with Western bourgeois culture.^ There 
were also regular musical evenings. Instructors with 
experience living in the West gave the trainees crash 
courses in bourgeois manners, diplomatic etiquette, 
fashionable dressing and “good taste. During its first 
three years, SHON taught annual intakes totalling about 
120 trainees — all but four of them male.^ 

The most successful of SHON’s first intake of students 
was Pavel Mikhailovich Fitin, whose early career had 
been spent in an agricultural publishing house. In 
February 1938 he had been recruited by the NKVD’s 

internal training school to fill one of the many vacancies 
caused by the liquidation of “enemies of the people” 
within its ranks. In October he was transferred to SHON, 
where, according to an official hagiography, his “high 
intellect and outstanding organizational ability” made an 
immediate impression. After only a few months, with his 
training still incomplete, he was drafted into foreign 
intelligence. In May 1939 he was appointed head of INO. 
At age thirty-one, Fitin was both the youngest and most 
inexperienced foreign intelligence chief in Soviet history. 
At the time of his sudden promotion his prospects must 
have seemed poor. During the chaotic previous fifteen 
months three of his predecessors had been liquidated and 
a fourth transferred.^ Fitin, however, proved remarkably 
tenacious. He remained head of INO for seven years, the 
longest period anyone had held that office since the 
1920s, before losing favor and returning to provincial 

Towards the end of 1940, four INO officers were 
despatched to London on Fitin’ s orders to reopen the legal 
residency. The new resident was Anatoli Veniaminovich 
Gorsky (codenamed VADIM), the last intelligence officer 
to be withdrawn from London before the residency had 
closed that February.^ Gorsky was a grimly efficient, 
humorless, orthodox Stalinist, a far cry from the Great 
Illegals of the mid- 1930s. Blunt found him “flat-footed” 
and unsympathetic.^ Another of his wartime agents 

described him as “a short, fattish man in his mid-thirties, 
with blond hair pushed straight back and glasses that 
failed to mask a pair of shrewd, cold eyes.”^^ Like Fitin, 
Gorsky owed his rapid promotion to the recent liquidation 
of most of his colleagues. 

Gorsky returned to London, however, far better briefed 
than during his previous tour of duty, when he had been 
forced to ask the Centre for background material on Kim 
Philby.^^ On Christmas Eve 1940 he reported that he had 
renewed contact with SOHNCHEN. The Centre appeared 
jubilant at Gorsky’s report. In the summer of 1940 
Burgess had succeeded in recruiting Philby to Section D 
of SIS, which soon afterwards was merged into a new 
organization, the Special Operations Executive (SOE), 
instructed by Churchill to “set Europe ablaze” through 
subversive warfare behind enemy lines. Following the 
six-week defeat of France and the Low Countries, the 
Prime Minister’s orders proved wildly optimistic. The 
Centre, however, warmly welcomed Gorsky’s report that 
Philby “was working as a political instructor at the 
training center of the British Intelligence Service 
preparing sabotage agents to be sent to Europe.” There 
was, however, one major surprise in Philby ’s early 
reports. “According to SOHNCHEN’ s date,” Gorsky 
informed the Centre, “[SOE] has not sent its agents to the 
USSR yet and is not even training them yet. The USSR is 
tenth on the list of countries to which agents are to be 
sent.” Wrongly convinced that the Soviet Union remained 

a priority target, a skeptical desk officer in the Centre 
underlined this passage and placed two large red question 
marks in the margin. 

Early in 1941, the London residency renewed contact 

with the other members of the Five. Maclean continued to 

provide large numbers of Foreign Office documents. 

Unlike Philby, Burgess had failed to secure a transfer 

from Section D of SIS to SOE and had returned to the 

BBC. Blunt, however, had succeeded in entering the 

Security Service, MI5, in the summer of 1940. As well as 

providing large amounts of material from MI5 files. Blunt 

also ran as a sub-agent one of his former Cambridge 

pupils, Leo Long (codenamed ELLI), who worked in 

military intelligence.^^ Among the early intelligence 

provided by Blunt from MI5 files was evidence that 

during the two years before the outbreak of the Second 

World War the NKVD had abandoned one of its best- 

placed British agents. In the summer of 1937, at the 

height of the paranoia generated by the Great Terror, the 

Centre had jumped to the absurd conclusion that Captain 

King, the Foreign Office cipher clerk recruited three years 

earlier, had been betrayed to British intelligence by 

Teodor Maly, the illegal resident in London. Blunt 

revealed that King had gone undetected until his 

identification by a Soviet defector at the outbreak of 


Caimcross too had succeeded in occupying what the 

Centre considered a prime position in Whitehall. In 
September 1940 he left the Treasury to become private 
secretary to one of Churchill’s ministers, Lord Hankey, 
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Though not a 
member of the War Cabinet (initially composed of only 
five senior ministers), Hankey received all cabinet papers, 
chaired many secret committees and was responsible for 
overseeing the work of the intelligence services. By the 
end of the year Caimcross was providing so many 
classified documents — among them War Cabinet minutes, 
SIS reports. Foreign Office telegrams and General Staff 
assessments — that Gorsky complained there was far too 
much to transmit in cipher. 

During 1941 London was easily the NKVD’s most 
productive legal residency. According to the Centre’s 
secret statistics, the residency forwarded to Moscow 
7,867 classified political and diplomatic documents, 715 
on military matters, 127 on economic affairs and 51 on 
British intelligence.^^ In addition it provided many other 
reports based on verbal information from the Five and 
other agents. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that, 
until the Soviet Union entered the war, most of this 
treasure trove of high-grade intelligence was simply 
wasted. Stalin’s understanding of British policy was so 
distorted by conspiracy theory that no amount of good 
intelligence was likely to enlighten him. Despite the fact 
that Britain and Germany were at war, he continued to 

believe — as he had done since the mid- 193 Os — that the 
British were plotting to embroil him with Hitler. His 
belief in a non-existent British conspiracy helped to blind 
him to the existence of a real German plot to invade the 
Soviet Union. 

THE LEGAL RESIDENCY in the Berlin embassy 
resumed work in 1940 at about the same time as that in 
London. The NKVD had lost touch with its most 
important German agent, Arvid Hamack (codenamed 
CORSICAN), an official in the Economics Ministry, in 
June 1938. Early on the morning of September 17,1940 
contact was resumed by the newly arrived deputy Berlin 
resident, Aleksandr Mikhailovich Korotkov (alias 
“Erdberg,” codenamed SASHA and DLINNY). The fact 
that Korotkov simply knocked on Hamack’ s door and 
arranged their next meeting in the Soviet embassy is 
evidence both of the decline in tradecraft caused by the 
liquidation of most experienced INO officers and of the 
fact that the Gestapo was at this stage of the war far less 
omnipresent than was widely supposed. 

A fellow member of the German Communist 
underground. Reinhold Schonbmnn, later recalled: 

Hamack ... had little sense of humor, and we, his 
colleagues, did not feel at ease in his presence. There 
was something of the puritan in the man, something 
narrow and doctrinaire. But he was extremely 


Like Burgess and Philby, Hamack was so highly 
motivated that he had carried on recruiting intelligence 
sources even during the two and a quarter years that he 
was out of contact with the Centre. Korotkov reported that 
Hamack was in touch with a loose network of about sixty 
people, although he could not “personally vouch for every 

CORSICAN’S description of the way that they 
camouflage their operations is that, while not all of 
the members of the circle know one another, 
something of a chain exists. CORSICAN himself 
tries to remain in the background although he is at 
the heart of the organization.^^ 

The most important of the sources cultivated by 
Hamack was a lieutenant in the Luftwaffe intelligence 
service, Harro Schulze-Boysen, codenamed STARSHINA 
(“Senior”), whose dynamic personality provided a 
striking contrast with that of the dour Hamack. Leopold 
Trepper, who knew them both, found Schulze-Boysen “as 
passionate and hot-headed as Arvid Hamack was calm 
and reflective.” His tall, athletic frame, fair hair, blue eyes 
and Aryan features were far removed from the Gestapo 
stereotype of the Communist subversive. On March 15, 
1941 the Centre ordered Korotkov to make direct contact 

with Schulze-Boysen and persuade him to form his own 
network of informants independent of Hamack. Schulze- 
Boysen needed little persuasion. 

Even a more experienced intelligence officer than 
Korotkov would have found Hamack, Schulze-Boysen 
and their groups of agents difficult to mn. Both networks 
put themselves at increased risk by combining covert 
opposition to the Nazi regime with espionage for the 
Soviet Union. Schulze-Boysen and his glamorous wife, 
Libertas, held evening discussion groups for members of, 
and potential recmits to, an anti-Hitler underground. 
Libertas ’s many lovers added to the danger of discovery. 
As young resisters pasted anti-Nazi posters on Berlin 
walls, Schulze-Boysen stood guard over them dressed in 
his Luftwaffe uniform, with his pistol at the ready and the 
safety catch off.^^ 

The most important intelligence provided by the 
Hamack and Schulze-Boysen networks in the first half of 
1941 concerned Hitler’s preparations for operation 
BARBAROSSA, the invasion of Russia. On June 16 
Korotkov cabled the Centre that intelligence from the two 
networks indicated that “[a] 11 of the military training by 
Germany in preparation for its attack on the Soviet Union 
is complete, and the strike may be expected at any 
time.”^^ Similar intelligence arrived from NKVD sources 
as far afield as China and Japan. Later KGB historians 
counted “over a hundred” intelligence warnings of 

preparations for the German attack forwarded to Stalin by 
Fitin between January 1 and June 21 ?^ Others came from 
military intelligence. All were wasted. Stalin was as 
resistant to good intelligence from Germany as he was to 
good intelligence from Britain. 

The Great Terror had institutionalized the paranoid 
strain in Soviet intelligence assessment. Many NKVD 
officers shared, if usually to a less grotesque degree, 
Stalin’s addiction to conspiracy theory. None the less, the 
main blame for the catastrophic failure to foresee the 
surprise attack on June 22 belongs to Stalin himself, who 
continued to act as his own chief intelligence analyst. 
Stalin did not merely ignore a series of wholly accurate 
warnings. He denounced many of those who provided 
them. His response to an NKVD report from Schulze- 
Boysen on June 16 was the obscene minute: “You can 
send your ‘source’ from the German air force to his whore 
of a mother! This is not a ‘source’ but a disinformer. J. 
Stalin. Stalin also heaped abuse on the great GRU 
illegal Richard Sorge, who sent similar warnings from 
Tokyo, where he had penetrated the German embassy and 
seduced the ambassador’s wife. Sorge ’s warnings of 
operation BARBAROSSA were dismissed by Stalin as 
disinformation from a lying “shit who has set himself up 
with some small factories and brothels in Japan.”^^ 

Stalin was much less suspicious of Adolf Hitler than of 
Winston Churchill, the evil genius who had preached an 

anti-Bolshevik crusade in the civil war twenty years 
earlier and had been plotting against the Soviet Union 
ever since. Behind many of the reports of impending 
German attack Stalin claimed to detect a disinformation 
campaign by Churchill designed to continue the long- 
standing British plot to embroil him with Hitler. 
Churchill’s personal warnings to Stalin of preparations for 
BARBAROSSA only heightened his suspicions. From the 
intelligence reports sent by the London residency, Stalin 
almost certainly knew that until June 1941 the Joint 
Intelligence Committee ( JIC), the body responsible for 
the main British intelligence assessments, did not believe 
that Hitler was preparing an invasion. It reported to 
Churchill as late as May 23 that “the advantages ... to 
Germany of concluding an agreement with the USSR are 
overwhelming.”^^ The JIC assessments were probably 
regarded by Stalin as further proof that Churchill’s 
warnings were intended to deceive him. Stalin’s deep 
suspicions of Churchill and of British policy in general 
were cleverly exploited by the Germans. As part of the 
deception operation which preceded BARBAROSSA, the 
Abwehr, German military intelligence, spread reports that 
rumors of an impending German attack were part of a 
British disinformation campaign. 

By early June, reports of German troop movements 
toward the Soviet frontier were too numerous to be 
explained, even by Stalin, simply as British 
disinformation. At a private lunch in the German embassy 

in Moscow, the ambassador, Count von der Schulenberg, 
revealed that Hitler had definitely decided on invasion. 
“You will ask me why I am doing this,” he said to the 
astonished Soviet ambassador to Germany, Vladimir 
Georgyevich Dekanozov. “I was raised in the spirit of 
Bismarck, who was always an opponent of war with 
Russia.” Stalin’s response was to tell the Politburo, 
“Disinformation has now reached ambassadorial level 
On June 9, or soon afterwards, however, Stalin received a 
report that the German embassy had been sent orders by 
telegram to prepare for evacuation within a week and had 
begun burning documents in the basement.^^ 

Though Stalin remained preoccupied by a non-existent 
British conspiracy, he increasingly began to suspect a 
German plot as well — though not one which aimed at 
surprise attack. As it became ever more difficult to 
conceal German troop movements, the Abwehr spread 
rumors that Hitler was preparing to issue an ultimatum, 
backed by some display of military might, demanding 
new concessions from the Soviet Union. It was this 
illusory threat of an ultimatum, rather than the real threat 
of German invasion, which increasingly worried Stalin 
during the few weeks and days before BARBAROSSA. 
He was not alone. A succession of foreign statesmen and 
journalists were also taken in by the planted rumors of a 
German ultimatum.^^ 

Beria sought to protect his position as head of the 

NKVD by expressing mounting indignation at those 
inside and outside the NKVD who dared to send reports 
of preparations for a German invasion. On June 21, 1941 
he ordered four NKVD officers who persisted in sending 
such reports to be “ground into labor camp dust.” He 
wrote to Stalin on the same day with his characteristic 
mix of brutality and sycophancy: 

I again insist on recalling and punishing our 
ambassador to Berlin, Dekanozov, who keeps 
bombarding me with “reports” on Hitler’s alleged 
preparations to attack the USSR. He has reported 
that this attack will start tomorrow ... But I and my 
people, Iosif Vissarionovich, have firmly embedded 
in our memory your wise conclusion: Hitler is not 
going to attack us in 1941.^^ 

Also in jeopardy for providing intelligence on the 
forthcoming German invasion was the senior INO officer 
Vasili Mikhailovich Zarubin, later chief resident in the 
United States. Early in 1941 Zarubin was sent to China 
to meet Walter Stennes, German adviser to the Chinese 
nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek. Stennes had once 
been deputy head of Hitler’s stormtroopers, the 
Sturmabteilung, but developed a grudge against him after 
being sacked in 1931. In 1939 Stennes was approached by 
the NKVD Chungking residency and agreed to supply 
intelligence on Hitler. In February 1941 Zarubin reported 

to the Centre that a visitor from Berlin had secretly 
assured Stennes that “an attack against the USSR by the 
Germans ... was being planned for the end of May this 
year” (the original date set by Hitler but later postponed). 

Zarubin cabled on June 20: “The FRIEND [Stennes] 
repeats and confirms categorically — ^based on absolutely 
reliable information — that Hitler has completed 
preparations for war against the USSR.”^^ Fitin outraged 
Beria by taking these and similar warnings seriously. An 
SVR official history concludes, probably correctly, “Only 
the outbreak of war saved P. M. Fitin from the firing 

The devastating surprise achieved by the German 
invasion in the early hours of June 22 was made possible 
both by the nature of the Soviet intelligence system at the 
time and by the personal failings of the dictator who 
presided over it. In Whitehall the patient, if uninspired, 
examination of intelligence reports through the committee 
system eventually turned the belief that Germany saw the 
“overwhelming” advantages of a negotiated settlement 
with Russia into recognition that Hitler had decided to 
attack. In Moscow the whole system of intelligence 
assessment was dominated by the fearful sycophancy 
encapsulated in the formula “sniff out, suck up, survive,” 
and by a culture of conspiracy theory. 

Stalin had institutionalized both a paranoid strain and a 
servile political correctness which continued to distort in 

greater or lesser degree all intelligence assessment even 
after the outbreak of the Great Patriotic War in 1941. 
From 1942 to 1944 the Cambridge Five, probably the 
ablest group of Soviet wartime agents, were to be 
seriously suspected by the Centre of being double agents 
controlled by British intelligence simply because their 
voluminous and highly classified intelligence sometimes 
failed to conform to Stalin’s conspiracy theories. The 
responsibility, however, did not rest with Stalin alone. 
Some degree of distortion in intelligence assessment 
remained inherent in the autocratic nature of the Soviet 
system throughout the Cold War. The Centre always 
shrank from telling the Kremlin what it did not want to 
hear. The last head of KGB foreign intelligence, Leonid 
Shebarshin, confessed in 1992 that until Gorbachev 
introduced a measure of glasnost, the KGB “had to 
present its reports in a falsely positive light” which 
pandered to the predilections of the political leadership.^^ 

IN THE EARLY months of the Great Patriotic War, while 
the German forces advancing into Russia were sweeping 
all before them, Stalin faced the even more terrifying 
prospect of a two-front war. Ribbentrop instructed the 
German embassy in Japan, “Do everything to rouse the 
Japanese to begin war against Russia ... Our goal remains 
to shake hands with the Japanese on the Trans-Siberian 
Railway before the beginning of winter.” Opinion in 
Tokyo was initially divided between those who favored 

the “northern solution” (war with the Soviet Union) and 
the supporters of the “southern solution” (war with Britain 
and the United States). Sorge, deeply distrusted by Stalin, 
sought to provide reassurance from Tokyo that the 
advocates of the “southern solution” were gaining the 
upper hand. But on October 18 Sorge was arrested and his 
spy ring rapidly rounded up. 

SIGINT was more influential than Sorge in persuading 
Stalin that there would be no Japanese attack. Late in 
1938 the combined NKVD/Fourth Department SIGINT 
unit had been broken up. The NKVD section moved into 
the former Hotel Select on Dzerzhinsky Street, where it 
concentrated on diplomatic traffic; most, but not all, 
military communications were the responsibility of the 
cryptanalysts of the GRU (successor to the Fourth 
Department). In February 1941 the NKVD cryptanalysts 
had been integrated into a new and enlarged Fifth 
(Cipher) Directorate, with, at its heart, a research section 
responsible for the attack on foreign codes and ciphers. 
The chief Japanese specialist in the section, Sergei 
Tolstoy, went on to become the most decorated Soviet 
cryptanalyst of the war, winning two Orders of Lenin. In 
the autumn of 1941, a group led by him replicated the 
success of American codebreakers a year earlier in 
breaking the main Japanese diplomatic cipher, codenamed 
by the Americans and since known to Western historians 
as PURPLE. The teetotal American codebreakers had 
celebrated their success by sending out for a case of Coca- 

Cola. Tolstoy is unlikely to have had time to celebrate at 
all. The Japanese diplomatic decrypts which he provided, 
however, were of enormous importance. Japan, they made 
clear, would not attack the Soviet Union.^^ 

The reassurance about Japanese intentions provided by 
SIGINT enabled Stalin to shift to the west half the 
divisional strength of the Far Eastern Command. During 
October and November 1941, between eight and ten rifle 
divisions, together with about a thousand tanks and a 
thousand aircraft, were flung into the fight against 
Germany. These forces, together with other Red Army 
divisions which had been held in reserve, may well have 
saved the Soviet Union from defeat. As Professor Richard 
Overy concludes in his study of the eastern front, “It was 
not the tough winter conditions that halted the German 
army [in December 1941] but the remarkable revival of 
Soviet military manpower after the terrible maulings of 
the summer and autumn.”^^ 

As well as providing reassurance that Japan did not 
propose to attack the Soviet Union, SIGINT also gave 
indications of its move towards war with Britain and the 
United States, though the diplomatic decrypts contained 
no mention of plans for a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. 
A decrypted telegram from Tokyo to its Berlin embassy 
(probably copied to the Moscow embassy) on November 
27, 1941, ten days before Pearl Harbor, instructed the 

See Hitler and Ribbentrop, and explain to them in 
secret our relations with the United States ... Explain 
to Hitler that the main Japanese efforts will be 
concentrated in the south and that we propose to 
refrain from deliberate operations in the north 
[against the Soviet Union]. 

Soviet cryptanalysts, however, were unable to match 
the success of the British wartime SIGINT agency at 
Bletchley Park in breaking the main high-grade ciphers 
used by the German armed forces. They failed to do so 
partly for technological reasons. Soviet intelligence was 
unable to construct the powerful electronic “bombs,” first 
constructed at Bletchley Park in 1940 to break the daily 
settings of the German Enigma machine cipher. It was 
even further from being able to replicate COLOSSUS, the 
world’s first electronic computer used by Bletchley from 
1943 to decrypt the Geheimschreiber messages (radio 
signals based on teleprinter impulses enciphered and 
deciphered automatically) which for the last two years of 
the war yielded more operational intelligence than the 
Enigma traffic. But there was a human as well as a 
technological explanation for the inferiority of Soviet to 
British SIGINT. The Soviet system would never have 
tolerated the remarkable infusion of unconventional 
youthful talent on which much of Bletchley’s success was 
built. Alan Turing — the brilliant eccentric who buried his 
life savings (converted into silver ingots) in the Bletchley 

Woods, forgot where he had hidden them, but went on to 
be chiefly responsible for the invention of COLOSSUS — 
was one of many British cryptanalysts who would surely 
have been incapable of conforming to the political 
correctness demanded by the Stalinist system.^^ Some 
British ULTRA — the SIGINT derived from decrypting 
high-grade enemy traffic — ^was, however, passed 
officially to Moscow in a disguised form, and in an 
undisguised form by several Soviet agents. 

JUST AS THE KGB later sought to take refuge from the 
horrors of its Stalinist past by constructing a Leninist 
golden age of revolutionary purity, so it also sought to 
reinvent its record during the Great Patriotic War of 1941- 
5 as one of selfless heroism — ^best exemplified by its role 
in special operations and partisan warfare behind enemy 
lines. According to Pavel Anatoly evich Sudoplatov, head 
of the wartime NKVD Directorate for Special Tasks and 
Guerrilla Warfare, “This chapter in NKVD history is the 
only one that was not officially rewritten, since its 
accomplishments stood on their own merit and did not 
contain Stalinist crimes that had to be covered up.”^^ In 
reality, the NKVD’s wartime record, like the rest of its 
history, was extensively doctored. 

Among the best-publicized examples of the NKVD’s 
bravery behind enemy lines were the heroic deeds of its 
detachment in the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odessa 

during the 907-day occupation by German and Romanian 
forces. The detachment based itself in the catacombs 
there, a maze of underground tunnels used to excavate 
sandstone for the construction of the elegant nineteenth- 
century buildings which still line many of Odessa’s streets 
and boulevards. With over a thousand kilometers of 
unmapped tunnels as well as numerous entrances and 
exits, the catacombs made an almost ideal base for 
partisan warfare. In 1969, on the twenty-fifth anniversary 
of VE Day, a section of the catacombs on the outskirts of 
Odessa was opened as the Museum of Partisan Glory, 
which throughout the remainder of the Soviet era received 
over a million visitors a year.^^ 

After the Second World War, however, the sometimes 
heroic story of the struggle to liberate Odessa from enemy 
occupation was hijacked by the KGB to refurbish its 
dubious wartime record. Pride of place in the Museum of 
Partisan Glory is given to the exploits of the NKVD 
detachment headed by Captain Vladimir Aleksandrovich 
Molodtsov, who was posthumously made a Hero of the 
Soviet Union and suffered the indignity of having his 
whole life transformed into that of a Stalinist plaster saint. 
The origins of Molodtsov’s heroism were officially traced 
back to selfless devotion in overfulfilling his norms as a 
miner during the first Five Year Plan. “What a wonderful 
thing it is,” he was said to have declared in 1930, “not to 
notice or watch the time during the working day, not to 
wait for the end of the shift but to seek to prolong it, to 

run behind the [coal] trolley, to be bathed in sweat and at 
the end of the shift to emerge victorious in fulfilling the 

The Museum of Partisan Glory contains a 
“reconstruction” of the NKVD detachment’s underground 
headquarters, complete with dormitories, ammunition 
depot, workshops, fuel store, kitchen and meeting room 
with — inevitably — a portrait of Lenin (but not of Stalin) 
on the wall.^^ Nearby is a vertical shaft 17 meters long 
linking the headquarters to the surface, through which it 
received messages and food from its agents in Odessa. 
During the Soviet era numerous films, books, magazine 
and newspaper articles, many promoted by the KGB, 
celebrated the heroic feats of the NKVD detachment in 
holding at bay thousands of German and Romanian troops 
in Odessa before giving their lives in defense of the 

Mitrokhin owed his discovery of the true story of the 
catacombs to a colleague in the FCD Illegals Directorate 
S, who borrowed the multi- volume Odessa file and, when 
he returned it, told Mitrokhin he might find it interesting. 
The file began by recording the despatch of Molodtsov’s 
detachment of six NKVD officers to Odessa shortly 
before it fell to the Germans in October 1941, with orders 
to establish an underground residency which would 
organize reconnaissance, sabotage and special operations 
behind the German lines. In Odessa they were joined by 
thirteen members of the local NKVD Special Department, 

commanded by Lieutenant V. A. Kuznetsov. According to 
the official version of events, the two groups held a 
Party/Komsomol meeting on the evening of October 15 
immediately before going down into the catacombs to set 
up their base. What actually took place, according to the 
KGB file, was a raucous dinner party and heavy drinking 
which ended in a fight between the Moscow and Odessa 
NKVD detachments. The next day the two groups entered 
the catacombs still at daggers drawn, with Molodtsov and 
Kuznetsov each claiming overall command. Over the next 
nine months Muscovites and Odes sans combined 
operations against the Germans and Romanians with 
internecine warfare among themselves. 

Molodtsov’ s end may well have been genuinely heroic. 
According to the official Soviet version, he was captured 
by the enemy in July 1942 but refused to beg for his life, 
courageously telling his captors, “We are in our own 
country and will not ask the enemy for mercy.”^^ The rest 
of the history of the Odessa catacombs, however, was an 
NKVD horror story. After Molodtsov’ s execution, 
Kuznetsov disarmed his detachment and put them under 
guard inside the catacombs. All but one, N. F. Abramov, 
were executed on Kuznetsov’s orders on charges of 
plotting against him. As conditions in the catacombs 
deteriorated, the Odessans then proceeded to fall out 
among themselves. The dwindling food supply became 
moldy; and, with their kerosene almost exhausted, the 
detachment was forced to live in semidarkness. On 

August 28 Kuznetsov shot one of his men, Molochny, for 
the theft of a piece of bread. On September 27 two others, 
Polschikov and Kovalchuk, were executed for stealing 
food and “lack of sexual discipline.” Fearing that he 
might be shot next, Abramov killed Kuznetsov a month 
later. In his notebook, later discovered in the catacombs 
and preserved in the KGB Odessa file, Abramov wrote: 

The former head of the Third Special Department of 
the Odessa district of the NKVD, State Security 
Lieutenant V. A. Kuznetsov, was shot by me with 
two bullets in the temple in the underground “Mirror 
Factory” [the base in the catacombs] on October 21, 

By this time, following several other deaths at the hands 
of the enemy, only three NKVD officers remained alive in 
the catacombs: Abramov, Glushchenko and Litvinov. 
Abramov and Glushchenko together killed Litvinov, then 
began to eye each other suspiciously in the semi-darkness. 

Glushchenko wrote in his diary that Abramov wanted 
to surrender: “We are beaten. There is no victory to wait 
for. He told me not to be frightened of committing treason 
or being shot as he has friends in German intelligence.” 
On February 18, 1943, apparently suffering from 

hallucinations, Glushchenko wrote, “[Abramov] was 
bending over, attending to his papers. I took my pistol 
from my belt and shot him in the back of the head.” Over 

the next few months Glushchenko spent much of his time 
outside the catacombs in his wife’s Odessa flat, finally 
abandoning the underground base on November 10, 1943. 
After the liberation of Odessa by the Red Army in April 
1945 Glushchenko returned with members of the 
Ukrainian NKVD to collect equipment and compromising 
papers from the catacombs, but was fatally wounded 
when a grenade he picked up exploded in his hands. 

For almost twenty years, the Centre believed that no 
survivor of the Odessa catacombs remained to cast doubt 
on the heroic myth it had constructed. In 1963, however, 
the KGB was disconcerted to discover that Abramov had 
not been killed by Glushchenko after all, but had escaped 
and was living in France. His father, who may also have 
known the true story of the Odessa catacombs, was 
reported to have emigrated to the United States. 
Abramov’s supposed widow, Nina Abramova, who had 
been working in the KGB First Chief Directorate, was 
quietly transferred to another job. The myth of the NKVD 
heroes of the Odessa catacombs was left undisturbed.^^ 

According to statistics in KGB files, the NKVD ran a 
total of 2,222 “operational combat groups” behind enemy 
lines during the Great Patriotic War.^^ Mitrokhin found 
no realistic appraisal, however, of the effectiveness of 
partisan warfare. Contrary to the claims of post-war 
Soviet hagiographers, the combat groups seem only rarely 
to have tied down German forces larger than 

themselves. Because about half of all partisans were 
NKVD personnel or Party officials, they were frequently 
regarded with acute suspicion by the peasant population 
on whom they depended for local support. The virtual 
collapse of partisan warfare in the western Ukraine, for 
example, was due largely to the hostility of the inhabitants 
to the Party and the NKVD. Though partisan warfare 
became more effective after Stalingrad, there were 
important areas — notably Crimea and the steppes — where 
it never became a significant factor in the fighting on the 
eastern front. 

OUTSIDE EUROPE, THE NKVD’s most successful 
attacks on German targets were mounted by an illegal 
residency in Argentina,^^ headed by Iosif Romualdovich 
Grigulevich (codenamed ARTUR), a veteran both of 
sabotage operations in the Spanish Civil War and of the 
first attempt to assassinate Trotsky in Mexico City.^^ In 
September 1941 an official Argentinian inquiry reached 
the hysterical conclusion, endorsed by the Chamber of 
Deputies but rejected by the government, that the German 
ambassador was the head of over half a million Nazi 
stormtroopers operating under cover in Latin America. 
During the months after Pearl Harbor, Argentina and 
Chile were the only Latin American states not to break off 
diplomatic relations with Germany and Japan. The rumors 
of Nazi plots among Argentina’s quarter of a million 

German speakers, pro-German sympathies in its officer 
corps, and the presence of an Argentinian military 
purchasing mission in Berlin until 1944, helped to 
persuade the Centre that Argentina was a major Nazi 
base. Though this belief was greatly exaggerated, it was 
shared by OSS, the US wartime foreign intelligence 
agency, which reported that Dr. Ramon Castillo, president 
of Argentina from 1941 to 1943, was in the pay of 
Hitler.^^ Such reports, passed on to the Centre by its 
agents in OSS and the State Department,^^ doubtless 
reinforced Moscow’s suspicions of Nazi plots in 

After the outbreak of war the German merchant navy 
was unable to run the gauntlet of the Royal Navy and 
enter Argentinian ports. Grigulevich’s residency, 
however, reported in 1941 that copper, saltpetre, cotton 
and other strategic raw materials were being exported 
from Argentina in neutral vessels to Spain, whence they 
were being secretly transported overland through France 
to Germany. To disrupt this export trade, Grigulevich 
recruited a sabotage team of eight Communist dockyard 
workers and seamen, headed by a Polish immigrant, 
Feliks Klementyevich Verzhbitsky (codenamed 
BESSER), who in December 1941 obtained a job as a 
blacksmith in the port of Buenos Aires. The first major 
exploit of Verzhbitsky’s group was to bum down the 
German bookshop in Buenos Aires, which Grigulevich 
regarded as the main center of Nazi propaganda. 

Thereafter it concentrated on planting delayed-action 
incendiary devices on ships and in warehouses containing 
goods bound for Germany. Grigulevich also ran smaller 
sabotage and intelligence networks in Chile and Uruguay. 
The approximately seventy agents in his far-flung illegal 
residency were to remain the basis of Soviet intelligence 
operations in Argentina, Uruguay and — to a lesser extent 
— Chile during the early years of the Cold War as well as 
the Second World War.^^ 

Between the beginning of 1942 and the summer of 
1944, according to statistics in KGB files, over 150 
successful incendiary attacks were mounted by 
Grigulevich’ s agents against German cargoes, and an 
unspecified number of Spanish, Portuguese and Swedish 
vessels sunk. One, probably exaggerated, assessment by 
the Centre claims that the attacks succeeded early in 1944 
in halting German exports from Buenos Aires. A more 
serious problem for Germany than Soviet sabotage, 
however, was the change of government in Argentina. A 
military coup in the summer of 1943, followed by the 
uncovering of a Nazi espionage network, led Argentina to 
sever diplomatic relations with Germany in January 


For most of the war communications between 
Grigulevich’ s residency and the Centre were slow and 
spasmodic, depending on occasional couriers between 
Buenos Aires and the New York residency. In the 

summer of 1944, shortly after the NKGB had established 
a legal residency in Uruguay, Grigulevich was summoned 
to Montevideo to give a detailed report on his intelligence 
operations, finances and agent networks since the 
beginning of the Great Patriotic War. The Centre had 
become alarmed at the scale of his incendiary attacks on 
neutral shipping and feared that his cover might be blown. 
In September it ordered him to suspend sabotage 
operations and limit himself to intelligence collection in 
Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Once instructed to stop 
work by Grigulevich, Verzhbitsky began making 
grenades for the underground Argentinian Communist 
Party but was seriously injured in October by an 
explosion in his workshop which cost him his left arm and 
the sight in one eye. Grigulevich reported that he behaved 
with great bravery during police investigation, sticking to 
a prepared cover story that a personal enemy had planted 
explosives on him, hidden in a packet of dried milk. In 
1945 Verzhbitsky was smuggled out of prison and 
exfiltrated by the Argentinian Communist Party across the 
border into Uruguay, where he lived on a Party pension. 

Remarkable though they were, the sabotage operations 
run from Buenos Aires had no perceptible influence on 
the course of the Great Patriotic War. Once the alarmism 
of the summer of 1944 had died down, however, they 
greatly enhanced Grigulevich’ s reputation in the Centre as 
saboteur and assassin. His successes in wartime Argentina 
help to explain his later selection for the most important 

assassination mission of the Cold War.^^ By contrast, 
Grigulevich’s chief saboteur, Verzhbitsky, was regarded 
as an embarrassment because of his disablement. His 
request to emigrate to the Soviet Union in 1946 was 
brusquely turned down. In 1955, however, when 
Verzhbitsky, by then completely blind, applied again, his 
application was accepted — possibly for fear that he might 
otherwise reveal his wartime role.^^ On arrival in the 
Soviet Union, Verzhbitsky was awarded an invalidity 
pension of 100 roubles a month, but his application for 
membership of the Soviet Communist Party was turned 

and NKGB (as its security and intelligence components 
were renamed in 1943) deserve to be remembered less for 
their bravery during the Second World War than for their 
brutality. After the forcible incorporation into the Soviet 
Union of eastern Poland in September 1939, followed by 
the Baltic states and Moldavia in the summer of 1940, the 
NKVD quickly moved in to liquidate “class enemies” and 
cow the populations into submission. On June 25, 1941, 
three days after the beginning of Hitler’s invasion, the 
NKVD was ordered to secure the rear of the Red Army by 
arresting deserters and enemy agents, protecting 
communications and liquidating isolated pockets of 
German troops. In August 1941 Soviet parachutists 

disguised as Germans landed among the villages of the 
Volga German Autonomous Region and asked to be 
hidden until the arrival of the Wehrmacht. When they 
were given shelter, the whole village was exterminated by 
the NKVD. All other Volga Germans, however loyal, 
were deported by the NKVD to Siberia and northern 
Kazakhstan, with enormous loss of life. 

When the Red Army took the offensive in 1943, the 
NKVD followed in its wake to mop up resistance and 
subversion. Beria reported proudly to Stalin at the end of 
the year: 

In 1943, the troops of the NKVD, who are 
responsible for security in the rear of the Active Red 
Army, in the process of cleaning up the territory 
liberated from the enemy, arrested 931,549 people 
for investigation. Of these, 582,515 were servicemen 
and 394,034 were civilians. 

Of those arrested, 80,296 were “unmasked,” in many 
cases wrongly, as spies, traitors, deserters, bandits and 
“criminal elements.” 

Stalin used the NKVD to punish and deport entire 
nations within the Soviet Union whom he accused of 
treachery: among them Chechens, Ingushi, Balkars, 
Karachai, Crimean Tartars, Kalmyks and Meskhetian 
Turks. In response to Stalin’s instructions to reward 
“those who have carried out the deportation order in an 

exemplary manner,” Beria replied: 

In accordance with your instructions, I submit a draft 
decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the 
USSR on decorations and medals for the most 
outstanding participants in the operation involving 
the deportation of the Chechens and Ingushes. 

19,000 members of the NKVD, NKGB and Smersh 
took part, plus up to 100,000 officers of the NKVD 
forces ... 

As on this occasion, many of the NKVD and NKGB 
personnel decorated during the war received their medals 
not for valor against the enemy but for crimes against 

THE WARTIME RECORD of Soviet intelligence on the 
eastern front was patchy. Up to the end of 1942 the main 
espionage system providing intelligence from Nazi 
Germany and occupied Europe was a loosely coordinated 
GRU illegal network linked to the NKVD Hamack and 
Schulze-Boysen groups, codenamed the Rote Kappelle 
(“Red Orchestra”) by the Abwehr. The “musicians” were 
the radio operators who sent coded messages to Moscow; 
the “conductor” was the Polish Jew Leopold Trepper, 
alias Jean Gilbert, known within the network as le grand 
chef. The Rote Kappelle had 117 agents: 48 in Germany, 
35 in France, 17 in Belgium and 17 in Switzerland.^^ The 

network was gradually wound up during the later months 
of 1942 as German radio direction- finding tracked down 
the “musicians.” Trepper himself was captured as he sat 
in a dentist’s chair in occupied Paris on December 5. 
According to the Abwehr officer who arrested him, “For a 
second he was disturbed; then he said in perfect German, 
‘You did a fine job.’ ” Only Rado’s GRU illegal 
residency in Switzerland, known as the Rote Drei after its 
three main radio transmitters, which was out of reach of 
German intelligence, continued work for another year 
until it was shut down by the Swiss.^^ 

Though both Trepper and Rado were sentenced to ten 
years’ imprisonment in Moscow after the war, it was later 
alleged by Soviet historians that intelligence from the 
Rote Kappelle had been of enormous assistance to the 
Red Army. In reality, intelligence did not begin to have a 
significant influence on Soviet military operations until 
after Trepper was arrested and most of his network wound 
up. Military intelligence failed to detect the sudden 
German turn south which captured Kiev in September 
1941, and was taken aback by the intensity of the October 
assault on Moscow. The loss of Kharkov in May 1942 
was due partly to the fact that the Stavka (a wartime 
combination of GHQ and high command) was expecting 
another attack on the capital. The Wehrmachfs move 
south in the summer again took the Stavka by surprise. 
Throughout the German advance to Stalingrad and the 
Caucasus, Soviet forces were constantly confused about 

where the next blow would fall. When the Red Army 
encircled Axis forces at Stalingrad in November 1942, it 
believed it had trapped 85,000 to 90,000 troops; in reality 
it had surrounded three times as many.^^ 

The NKVD’s main role at Stalingrad was less in 
providing good intelligence than in enforcing a ferocious 
discipline within the Red Army. About 13,500 Soviet 
soldiers were executed for “defeatism” and other breaches 
of military discipline in the course of the battle, usually 
by a squad from the NKVD Special Detachment. Before 
execution, most were ordered to strip so that their uniform 
and boots could be reused. The NKVD postal censorship 
seized on any unorthodox or politically incorrect 
comment in soldiers’ letters to their families as evidence 
of treachery. A lieutenant who wrote “German aircraft are 
very good ... Our anti-aircraft people shoot down only 
very few of them” was, inevitably, condemned as a 
traitor. In the 62nd Army alone, in the first half of 
October 1942, the NKVD claimed that “military secrets 
were divulged in 12,747 letters. The great victory at 
Stalingrad, sealed by the surrender of the German Field 
Marshal Friedrich Paulus, twenty- two generals and 
91,000 troops early in 1943, was achieved in spite of, 
rather than because of, the contribution of the NKVD. 

Stalingrad was followed by a major improvement in the 
quality of Soviet military intelligence on the eastern front, 
made possible in part by massive supplies of radio 

equipment from the Americans and the BritishJ^ At the 
end of 1942 the Stavka established special-purpose radio 
battalions, each equipped with eighteen to twenty radio- 
intercept receivers and four direction- finding sets. The 
result, according to a Soviet historian given access to the 
battalions’ records, was “a qualitative jump in the 
development of radio-electronic combat in the Soviet 
army.” Though Soviet cryptanalysts lacked the state-of- 
the-art technology which enabled Bletchley Park to 
decrypt high-grade Enigma and Geheimschreiber 
messages, they made major advances during 1943 — 
reluctantly assisted by German cipher personnel captured 
at Stalingrad — in direction-finding, traffic analysis and 
the breaking of lower- grade hand ciphers. In 1942-3 they 
also had the benefit of Luftwaffe Enigma decrypts 
supplied by an agent inside Bletchley Park. 

All these improvements were evident during the battle 
of Kursk in the summer of 1943 when the Red Army 
defeated the last great German offensive on the eastern 
front. Intelligence reports captured by the Wehrmacht 
from the Red Army during the battle revealed that Soviet 
SIGINT had located the positions and headquarters of the 
6th, 7th and 11th Panzer Divisions, II and XIII Panzer 
Corps, and Second Army HQ. Aerial reconnaissance 
before and during Kursk was also on a larger scale and 
more successful than ever before. 

Victory at Kursk opened the way to an almost 
continuous advance by the Red Army on the eastern front 

which was to end with Marshal Zhukov accepting the 
surrender of Berlin in May 1945. With a four-to-one 
superiority in men over the Wehrmacht, large amounts of 
military equipment from its Western allies and growing 
dominance in the air, the Red Army, though suffering 
enormous losses, proved unstoppable. In the course of its 
advance, the Red Army sometimes captured lists of the 
daily settings for periods of up to a month of the 
Wehrmacht’ s Enigma machines, as well as some of the 
machines and their operators. During the final stages of 
the war these captures sometimes enabled Soviet 
cryptanalysts to decrypt spasmodically a still unknown 
number of Enigma messages. 

Despite the improvements after Stalingrad, however, 
the quality of Soviet intelligence on the eastern front — in 
particular the SIGINT — never compared with the 
intelligence on Germany available to their Western allies. 
The ULTRA intelligence provided to British and 
American commanders was, quite simply, the best in the 
history of warfare. The Soviet Union’s most striking 
intelligence successes during the Great Patriotic War, by 
contrast, were achieved not against its enemies but against 
its allies in the wartime Grand Alliance: Britain and the 
United States. 



For most of the inter- war years the United States had 
ranked some way behind Britain as a target for INO 
operations. Even in the mid- 1930s the main Soviet 
espionage networks in the United States were run by the 
Fourth Department (Military Intelligence, later renamed 
the GRU) rather than by the NKVD. Fourth Department 
agents included a series of young, idealistic high-flyers 
within the federal government, among them: Alger Hiss 
and Julian Wadleigh, both of whom entered the State 
Department in 1936; Harry Dexter White of the Treasury 
Department; and George Silverman, a government 
statistician who probably recruited White. ^ Fike the 
Cambridge Five, the Washington moles saw themselves 
as secret warriors in the struggle against fascism. 
Wadleigh wrote later: 

When the Communist International represented the 
only world force effectively resisting Nazi Germany, 
I had offered my services to the Soviet underground 
in Washington as one small contribution to help stem 

the fascist tide.^ 

The main NKVD operations in the United States during 
the mid- 1930s were run by an illegal residency 
established in 1934 under the former Berlin resident, 
Boris Bazarov (codenamed NORD), with Iskhak 
Abdulovich Akhmerov (YUNG), a Soviet Tartar, as his 
deputy.^ Bazarov was remembered with affection by 
Hede Massing, an Austrian agent in his residency, as the 
warmest personality she had encountered in the NKVD. 
On the anniversary of the October Revolution in 1935 he 
sent her fifty long-stemmed red roses with a note which 

Our lives are unnatural, but we must endure it for 
[the sake of] humanity. Though we cannot always 
express it, our little group is bound by love and 
consideration for one another. I think of you with 
great warmth. 

Though Akhmerov, by contrast, struck Massing as a 
“Muscovite automaton,” he was less robotic than he 
appeared.^ Unknown to Massing, Akhmerov was engaged 
in a passionate love affair with his assistant, Helen 
Lowry, the cousin of the American Communist Party 
leader, Earl Browder, and — ^unusually — gained 
permission from the Centre to marry her.^ 

Bazarov’s and Akhmerov’s recruits included three 

agents in the State Department: ERIKH, KIY and “19.”^ 
Probably the most important, as well as the only one of 
the three who can be clearly identified, was agent “19,” 
Laurence Duggan, who later became chief of the Latin 
American Division.^ To Hede Massing, Duggan seemed 
“an extremely tense, high-strung, intellectual young 
man.” His recruitment took some time, not least because 
Alger Hiss was simultaneously attempting to recruit him 
for the Fourth Department. In April 1936 Bazarov 
complained to the Centre that the “persistent Hiss” 
showed no sign of abandoning the attempt.^ A year later, 
in the midst of the Moscow show trials, Duggan told 
Akhmerov that he was afraid that, if he “collaborated” 
with Soviet intelligence, he might be exposed by a 
Trotskyite traitor. By the beginning of 1938, however, 
Duggan was supplying Akhmerov with State Department 
documents which were photographed in the illegal 
residency and then returned. In March Duggan reported 
that his close friend Sumner Welles, under-secretary at the 
State Department from 1938 to 1945, had told him he was 
becoming too attracted to Marxism and had given him a 
friendly warning about his left-wing acquaintances.^ 
Duggan’s future in the State Department, however, 
seemed as bright as that of Donald Maclean in the Foreign 

The Centre also saw a bright future for Michael 
Straight (codenamed NOMAD and NIGEL), the wealthy 

young American recruited shortly before his graduation 
from Cambridge University in 1937.^^ Its optimism 
sprang far more from Straight’s family connections than 
from any evidence of his enthusiasm for a career as a 
secret agent. Straight’s job hunt after his return to the 
United States began at the top — over tea at the White 
House with Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. With some 
assistance from Mrs. Roosevelt, he obtained a temporary, 
unpaid assignment in the State Department early in 1938. 
Soon afterwards, he received a phone call from 
Akhmerov, who passed on “greetings from your friends at 
Cambridge University” and invited him to dinner at a 
local restaurant. Akhmerov introduced himself as 
“Michael Green,” then ordered a large meal. Straight 
watched as he ate: 

He was dark and stocky, with broad lips and a ready 
smile. His English was good; his manner was affable 
and easy. He seemed to be enjoying his life in 

Ahkmerov seemed to accept that it would be some time 
before Straight had access to important documents, but 
was evidently prepared to wait. Before paying the bill, he 
delivered a brief lecture on international relations. 
Straight was “too stunned to think clearly.” Though 
Straight claims that he was “unwilling to become a Soviet 
agent in the Department of State,” he plainly did not say 

so to Akhmerov. The two men “parted as friends” and 
Straight agreed to continue their meetings. 

With the approach of war in Europe, the Centre’s 
interest in the United States steadily increased. In 1938 
the NKVD used the defection of the main Fourth 
Department courier, Whittaker Chambers, as a pretext for 
taking over most of the military intelligence agent 
network, with the notable exception of Alger Hiss.^^ In 
the United States, as elsewhere, however, the expansion 
of NKVD operations was disrupted by the hunt for 
imaginary “enemies of the people.” Ivan Andreyevich 
Morozov (codenamed YUZ and KIR), who was stationed 
in the New York legal residency in 1938-9, sought to 
prove his zeal to the Centre by denouncing the Resident, 
Pyotr Davidovich Gutzeit (codenamed NIKOLAI), and 
most of his colleagues as secret Trotskyists.^^ In 1938 
both Gutzeit and Bazarov, the legal and illegal residents, 
were recalled and shot.^^ Morozov’s denunciation of the 
next legal resident, Gayk Badalovich Ovakimyan 
(codenamed GENNADI), was less successful and may 
have prompted Morozov’s own recall in 1939.^^ 

Bazarov was succeeded as illegal resident by his former 
deputy, Iskhak Akhmerov, who henceforth controlled 
most political intelligence operations in the United 
States. Mitrokhin noted the codenames of eight rather 
diverse individuals in whom the Centre seemed to place 
particularly high hopes on the eve of the Second World 

War:^^ Laurence Duggan (agent “19,” later FRANK) in 
the State Department; Michael Straight (NIGEL), also 
in the State Department; Martha Dodd Stem (LIZA), 
daughter of the former US ambassador to Germany, 
William E. Dodd, and wife of the millionaire Alfred 
Kaufman Stem (also a Soviet agent); Martha’s brother, 
William E. Doss, Jr. (PRESIDENT), who had mn 
unsuccessfully for Congress as a Democrat and still had 
political ambitions; Harry Dexter White in the Treasury 
Department (KASSIR, later JURIST); an agent 
codenamed MORIS (probably John Abt) in the Justice 
Department”; Boris Morros (FROST), the Hollywood 
producer of Laurel and Hardy’s Flying Deuces and other 
box-office hits;^^ Mary Wolf Price (codenamed KID and 
DIR), an undeclared Communist who was secretary to the 
well-known columnist Walter Lippmann; and Henry 
Buchman (KHOSYAIN, “Employer”), owner of a 
women’s fashion salon in Baltimore.^^ 

In August 1939, however, political intelligence 
operations in the United States, as in Britain, were 
partially dismpted by the signing of the Nazi-Soviet Pact. 
Laurence Duggan broke off contact with Akhmerov in 
protest.^^ Others who had serious doubts included 
Michael Straight. At a meeting in October in a restaurant 
below Washington’s Union Station, Akhmerov tried to 
reassure him. “Great days are approaching!” he declared. 
With the beginning of the Second World War, revolution 

would spread like wildfire across Germany and France.^^ 
Straight was unimpressed and failed to attend the next 
meeting.^^ Duggan and Straight are unlikely to have been 
the only agents to break contact, at least temporarily, with 
the NKVD. 

Further disruption to NKVD operations in the United 
States followed Akhmerov’s recall, soon after his last 
meeting with Straight, to Moscow where he was accused 
by Beria of treasonable dealings with enemies of the 
people.^^ Though, for unknown reasons, the charges were 
dropped, Akhmerov was placed in the NKVD reserve and 
remained under suspicion for the next two years while his 
record was thoroughly checked. For the first time, the 
center of NKVD operations in the United States was 
moved, after Akhmerov’s recall, to the legal residency 
headed by Gayk Ovakimyan, later known to the FBI as 
the “wily Armenian.” Ovakimyan found himself terribly 
overworked, all the more so since he was also expected to 
take an active part in the complex preparations for 
Trotsky’s assassination in Mexico City. He would 
sometimes return home exhausted after meeting as many 
as ten agents in a single day.^^ 

Ovakimyan ’s main successes were in scientific and 
technological (S&T), rather than political, intelligence. He 
was unusual among INO officers in holding a science 
doctorate from the MVTU (Moscow Higher Technical 
School) and, since 1933, had operated under cover as an 

engineer at Amtorg (American- Soviet Trading 
Corporation) in New York. In 1940 he enrolled as a 
graduate student at a New York chemical institute to 
assist him in identifying potential agents. Ovakimyan 
was the first to demonstrate the enormous potential for 
S&T in the United States. In 1939 alone NKVD 
operations in the United States obtained 18,000 pages of 
technical documents, 487 sets of designs and 54 samples 
of new technology.^^ 

Ovakimyan was probably also the first to suggest using 
an INO officer, under cover as an exchange student, to 
penetrate the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The 
first such “student,” Semyon Markovich Semyonov 
(codenamed TVEN), entered MIT in 1938. The scientific 
contacts which he made over the next two years, before 
changing his cover in 1940 to that of an Amtorg engineer, 
helped to lay the basis for the remarkable wartime 
expansion of S&T collection in the United States. One of 
his colleagues in the New York residency was struck by 
Semyonov’s “large eyes which, while he was talking to 
somebody, [revolved] like parabolic antennae. By 
April 1941 the total NKVD agent network in the United 
States numbered 221, of whom forty-nine were listed in 
NKVD statistics as “engineers” (probably a category 
which included a rather broad range of scientists). In the 
same month the Centre for the first time established 
separate departments in its major residencies to specialize 

in scientific and technological intelligence operations 
(later known as Line X), a certain sign of their increasing 
priority.^ ^ 

According to an SVR official history, the sheer number 
of agents with whom Ovakimyan was in contact “blunted 
his vigilance.” In May 1941 he was caught by the FBI in 
the act of receiving documents from agent OCTANE, 
briefly imprisoned, freed on bail and allowed to leave the 
country in July.^^ But for the remarkably lax security of 
the Roosevelt administration, the damage to NKVD 
operations might have been very much worse than the 
arrest of Ovakimyan. On September 2, 1939, the day after 
the outbreak of war in Europe, Whittaker Chambers had 
told much of what he knew about Soviet espionage in the 
United States to Adolf Berle, Assistant Secretary of State 
and President Roosevelt’s adviser on internal security. 
Immediately afterwards, Berle drew up a memorandum 
for the President which listed Alger Hiss, Harry Dexter 
White and the other leading Soviet agents for whom 
Chambers had acted as courier. One of those on the list 
was a leading presidential aide, Lauchlin Currie 
(mistranscribed by Berle as Lockwood Curry). Roosevelt, 
however, was not interested. He seems to have dismissed 
the whole idea of espionage rings within his 
administration as absurd. Equally remarkable, Berle 
simply pigeon-holed his own report. He did not even send 
a copy to the FBI until the Bureau requested it in 1943.^^ 

IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE Japanese attack on Pearl 
Harbor and Hitler’s declaration of war on the United 
States in December 1941, Vassili Zarubin (alias Zubilin, 
codenamed MAKSIM) was appointed legal resident in 
New York. Already deeply suspicious of British 
commitment to the defeat of Nazi Germany, Stalin also 
had doubts about American resolve. He summoned 
Zarubin before his departure and told him that his main 
assignment in the United States was to watch out for 
attempts by Roosevelt and “US ruling circles” to 
negotiate with Hitler and sign a separate peace. As 
resident in New York, based in the Soviet consulate, 
Zarubin was also responsible for subresidencies in 
Washington, San Francisco, and Latin America.^^ Though 
fragmentary, the evidence suggests that Stalin continued 
to take a direct personal interest in overseeing intelligence 
operations against his allies. 

A brief official SVR biography portrays Zarubin’s 
wartime record in New York (and later in Washington) as 
one of unblemished brilliance. In reality, his abrasive 
personality and foul-mouthed behavior caused immediate 
uproar. Zarubin’s preference for the operations officers 
whom he brought with him (among them his wife, 
Yelizaveta Yulyevna Zarubina)^^ and his unconcealed 
contempt for existing residency staff led to open 
rebellion. Two of the operations officers whom he 

insulted, Vasili Dmitry evich Mironov and Vasili 
Georgyevich Dorogov, went to the remarkable lengths of 
reporting “his crudeness, general lack of manners, use of 
street language and obscenities, carelessness in his work, 
and repugnant secretiveness” to the Centre, and asking for 
his recall along with his almost equally unpopular wife. 
Feuding within the residency continued throughout the 
Second World War.^^ 

Zarubin’s recruitment strategy was simple and 
straightforward. He demanded that the leaders of the 
Communist Party of the United States (CPUS A) identify 
supporters and sympathizers in government 
establishments suitable for work as agents. When 
Zarubin arrived in New York, the CPUS A leader Earl 
Browder (codenamed RULE VO Y — “Helmsman”) was 
serving a prison sentence for using a false passport during 
his frequent secret journeys to the Soviet Union. His first 
contact was therefore with Eugene Dennis (bom Francis 
X. Waldron, codenamed RYAN), a Moscowtrained 
Comintern agent who later succeeded Browder as CPUS A 
general secretary. Dennis reported that a number of 
Communists (mostly secret Party members) were joining 
the first professional American foreign intelligence 
agency, the Office of the Coordinator of Information, 
reorganized in June 1942 as the Office of Strategic 
Services (OSS). Shortly before the foundation of OSS, 
Browder left prison to resume the Party leadership. He 

was, Dennis told Moscow, “in a splendid mood.”^^ 

Among the first Soviet agents to penetrate OSS was 
Duncan Chaplin Lee (codenamed KOCH), who became 
personal assistant to its head. General “Wild Bill” 
Donovan. Donovan had a relaxed attitude to the 
recruitment of Communists. “I’d put Stalin on the OSS 
payroll,” he once said, “if I thought it would help us 
defeat Hitler.” Throughout the Second World War the 
NKVD knew vastly more about OSS than OSS knew 
about the NKVD.^o 

Browder’s recruitment leads also included foreign 
Communists and fellow travelers who had taken refuge in 
the United States. Among the most important was the 
French radical politician Pierre Cot, six times Minister of 
Air and twice Minister of Commerce in the short-lived 
governments of the prewar Third Republic. Cot had 
probably been recruited by the NKVD in the mid- 1930s, 
but seems to have drifted out of touch during the chaotic 
period which followed the purge of much of Soviet 
foreign intelligence and had condemned the signing of the 
Nazi-Soviet Pact. Rebuffed by General Charles de Gaulle, 
the leader of the Free French after the fall of France in 
1940, Cot spent the next few years in the United States. 

In November Browder reported to Moscow: “Cot wants 
the leaders of the Soviet Union to know of his willingness 
to perform whatever mission we might choose, for which 
purpose he is even prepared to break faith with his own 

position. Probably a month or so after his arrival in 
New York, Zarubin approached Cot and, with his habitual 
brusqueness, pressed Cot to begin active work as a Soviet 
agent forthwith. Cot’s KGB file records that he was taken 
aback by the peremptory nature of Zarubin’s summons 
and insisted that one of the leaders of the French 
Communist Party exiled in Moscow give his approval.^^ 
On July 1 Zarubin reported to the Centre “the signing on 
of Pierre Cot” as agent DAEDALUS.^^ In 1944 Cot was 
to be sent on a three-month mission to Moscow on behalf 
of de Gaulle’s provisional government. He concluded the 
report on his mission: “Liberty declines unceasingly 
under capitalism and rises unceasingly under 

Though the Centre was plainly impressed by the quality 
of Communist recruits talent- spotted by Browder, it 
cautioned Zarubin against over-reliance on them: 

We permit the use of the Communist [Party 
members’] illegal intelligence capabilities ... as a 
supplement to the Residency’s operations, but it 
would be a mistake to turn these capabilities into the 
main basis of operations. 

At almost the same moment in December 1941 when 
Zarubin arrived in New York as legal resident, Iskhak 
Akhmerov (successively codenamed YUNG and 
ALBERT) returned to reestablish the illegal residency. 

also based in New York, which he had been ordered to 
abandon two years earlier. Though he had previously used 
Turkish and Canadian identity documents, on this 
occasion he carried a doctored US passport which he had 
acquired in 1938.^^ Unlike Zarubin, Akhmerov avoided 
all contact with Browder — despite the fact that his wife 
and assistant, Helen Lowry (codenamed MADLEN and 
ADA), was Browder’s niece.^^ In March 1942 the 
Akhmerovs moved from New York to Baltimore, a more 
convenient location from which to run agents based in 
Washington. There Akhmerov, whose stepfather had been 
a furrier, opened a fiir and clothes business in partnership 
with a local Soviet agent, KHOSYAIN, to give himself a 
cover occupation.^^ 

Michael Straight (NIGEL), in whom Akhmerov had 
placed such high hopes before the Second World War, 
refused to resume work as a Soviet agent. Straight had 
one last meeting with Akhmerov in Washington early in 
1942, declined any further meeting, shook hands and said 
goodbye. Most other pre-war agents, however, were 
successfully reactivated, among them Laurence Duggan 
(FRANK)^i and Harry Dexter White (JURIST).^^ 
Wallace, vice-president during Roosevelt’s third term of 
office (1941 to 1945), said later that if the ailing 
Roosevelt had died during that period and he had become 
president, it had been his intention to make Duggan his 
Secretary of State and White his Secretary of the 

Treasury.^^ The fact that Roosevelt survived three months 
into an unprecedented fourth term in the White House, 
and replaced Wallace with Harry Truman as vice- 
president in January 1945, deprived Soviet intelligence of 
what would have been its most spectacular success in 
penetrating a major Western government. The NKVD 
succeeded none the less in penetrating all the most 
sensitive sections of the Roosevelt administration. 

Akhmerov’s most productive Washington network was 
a group of Communists and fellow travelers with 
government jobs run by Nathan Gregory Silvermaster 
(successively codenamed PAL and ROBERT), a 
statistician in the Farm Security Administration, later 
seconded to the Board of Economic Warfare. “Greg” 
Silvermaster retained the untarnished idealism of the 
revolutionary dream. A chronic sufferer from bronchial 
asthma, which often left him gasping for breath, he 
believed that, “My time is strictly limited, and when I die 
I want to feel that at least I have had some part in building 
a decent life for those who come after me.”^^ 

Akhmerov believed, probably correctly, that, despite 
the security risks involved in Silvermaster ’s unorthodox 
tradecraft, he was able to obtain far more intelligence 
from his increasing number of sources than if each of 
them was run individually by a Soviet controller. 
Silvermaster himself disdained the NKVD’s bureaucratic 
“orthodox methods.” Though most of his sources must 

have been aware of the ultimate destination of their 
intelligence, the network was run under what Akhmerov 
termed “the Communist Party flag.” Informants regarded 
themselves as helping the CPUS A, which would in turn 
assist its Soviet comrades. 

To limit the security risks, Akhmerov placed two cut- 
outs between himself and the Silvermaster group. The 
first was a courier, Elizabeth Bentley (codenamed 
MIRNA, then, more condescendingly, UMNITSA 
— “Good Girl”), a Vassar graduate who in 1938, at the 
age of thirty, had been persuaded to break her visible 
links with the CPUS A in order to work for the NKVD. 
Every fortnight Bentley collected classified documents 
microfilmed by Silvermaster and his wife in her knitting 
bag. She reported not to Akhmerov himself but to another 
Soviet illegal in his residency, Jacob Golos (ZVUK 
— “Sound”), whom she knew as “Timmy.” Golos broke 
NKVD rules by seducing Bentley during a New York 
snowstorm. According to Bentley’s enthusiastic 
description of the seduction, she felt herself “float away 
into an ecstasy that seemed to have no beginning and no 
end.” Encouraged by Golos ’s unprofessional example, 
Bentley mixed friendship and espionage in a way which 
would have horrified the Centre. Each Christmas she used 
NKVD funds to buy carefully chosen presents, ranging 
from whiskey to lingerie, for the agents in Silvermaster’ s 
group. These, she said later, were “the good old days — the 
days when we worked together as good comrades. 

Like Zarubin’s, Akhmerov’s illegal residency recruited 
non- American as well as American agents. Among the 
most important was the British journalist and wartime 
intelligence officer Cedric Belfrage (codenamed 
CHARLIE), who joined British Security Coordination 
(BSC) in New York shortly after the United States entered 
the war.^^ Directed by the SIS head of station. Sir William 
Stephenson, for much of the war, BSC handled 
intelligence liaison with the Americans on behalf of MI5 
and SOE as well as SIS.^^ Belfrage volunteered his 
services to Soviet intelligence. Like a number of other 
American agents in the United States, he made his initial 
approach to Earl Browder, who passed him on to Golos.^^ 
Given the unprecedented number of wartime secrets 
exchanged by the British and American intelligence 
communities, Belfrage had access to an unusually wide 
range of intelligence. 

The rolls of microfilm forwarded by Akhmerov’s 
illegal residency to the Centre via the legal residency in 
New York increased almost four- fold in the space of a 
year, from fifty-nine in 1942 to 21 1 in 1943. Zarubin none 
the less regarded Akhmerov’s refusal to have direct 
dealings with the CPUS A leadership and his roundabout 
methods of controlling the Silvermaster group as feeble 
and long-winded. Akhmerov himself, Zarubin 
complained, had a “dry and distrustful” manner — ^which 
may well have been true as far as his relations with 

Zarubin were concerned. Zarubin had a much higher 
opinion of Akhmerov’s wife, Helen Lowry, whom he 
regarded as more quick-witted, more business-like in 
manner, and — ^because of her American upbringing — 
better able to make direct contact with US agents. 

THERE WAS THUS a breathtaking gulf between the 
intelligence supplied to Stalin on the United States and 
that available to Roosevelt on the Soviet Union.^^ 
Whereas the Centre had penetrated every major branch of 
Roosevelt’s administration, OSS — like SIS — had not a 
single agent in Moscow. At the Tehran Conference of the 
Big Three in November 1943 — the first time Stalin and 
Roosevelt had met — vastly superior intelligence gave 
Stalin a considerable negotiating advantage. Though there 
is no precise indication of what intelligence reports and 
documents were shown to Stalin before the summit, there 
can be no doubt that he was remarkably well briefed. He 
was almost certainly informed that Roosevelt had come to 
Tehran determined to do his utmost to reach agreement 
with Stalin — even at the cost of offending Churchill. FDR 
gave proof of his intentions as soon as he arrived. He 
declined Churchill’s proposal that they should meet 
privately before the conference began, but accepted 
Stalin’s pressing invitation that — allegedly on security 
grounds — he should stay at a building in the Soviet 
embassy compound rather than at the US legation. It 
seems not to have occurred to Roosevelt that the building 

was, inevitably, bugged, and that every word uttered by 
himself and his delegation would be recorded, transcribed 
and regularly reported to Stalin. 

Stalin must also have welcomed the fact that Roosevelt 
was bringing to Tehran his closest wartime adviser, Harry 
Hopkins, but leaving behind his Secretary of State, 
Cordell Hull. Hopkins had established a remarkable 
reputation in Moscow for taking the Russians into his 
confidence. Earlier in the year he had privately warned 
the Soviet embassy in Washington that the FBI had 
bugged a secret meeting at which Zarubin (apparently 
identified by Hopkins only as a member of the embassy) 
had passed money to Steve Nelson, a leading member of 
the US Communist underground. Information sent to 
Moscow by the New York residency on the talks between 
Roosevelt and Churchill in May 1943 had also probably 
come from Hopkins. There is plausible but 
controversial evidence that, in addition to passing 
confidences to the Soviet ambassador, Hopkins 
sometimes used Akhmerov as a back channel to Moscow, 
much as the Kennedys later used the GRU officer Georgi 
Bolshakov. Hopkins’s confidential information so 
impressed the Centre that, years later, some KGB officers 
boasted that he had been a Soviet agent. These boasts 
were far from the truth. Hopkins was an American patriot 
with little sympathy for the Soviet system. But he was 
deeply impressed by the Soviet war effort and convinced 

that, “Since Russia is the decisive factor in the war she 
must be given every assistance and every effort must be 
made to obtain her friendship. “Chip” Bohlen, who 
acted as American interpreter, later described Hopkins’s 
influence on the President at the Tehran summit as 

It was at Tehran, Churchill later claimed, that he 
realized for the first time how small the British nation 

There I sat with the great Russian bear on one side of 
me, with paws outstretched, and on the other side the 
great American buffalo, and between the two sat the 
poor little English donkey ...^^ 

Despite the closeness of the British-American wartime 
“special relationship” and Roosevelt’s friendship with 
Churchill, his priority at Tehran was to reach agreement 
with Stalin. He told his old friend, Frances Perkins, the 
Secretary of Labor, how 

Winston got red and scowled, and the more he did 
so, the more Stalin smiled. Finally, Stalin broke out 
into a deep, hearty guffaw, and for the first time in 
three days I saw light. I kept it up until Stalin was 
laughing with me, and it was then that I called him 
“Uncle Joe.” He would have thought me fresh the 
day before, but that day he laughed and came over 

and shook my hand. 

From that time on our relations were personal ... 

We talked like men and brothers.^^ 

In the course of the Tehran Conference, Hopkins sought 
out Churchill privately at the British embassy, and told 
him that Stalin and Roosevelt were adamant that 
Operation OVERLORD, the British-American cross- 
Channel invasion of occupied France, must take place the 
following spring, and that British opposition must cease. 
Churchill duly gave way. The most important political 
concession to Stalin was British-American agreement to 
give the post-war Soviet Union its 1941 frontier, thus 
allowing Stalin to recover his territorial gains ill-gotten 
under the Nazi-Soviet Pact: eastern Poland, the Baltic 
states and Moldova. The Polish govemment-in-exile in 
London was not consulted. 

Stalin returned to Moscow in high spirits. The United 
States and Britain seemed to have recognized, as a 
Russian diplomat put it privately, Russia’s “right to 
establish friendly governments in the neighboring 
countries. Roosevelt’s willingness to go so far to meet 
Stalin’s wishes at Tehran had derived chiefly from his 
deep sense of the West’s military debt to the Soviet Union 
at a time when the Red Army was bearing the 
overwhelming brunt of the war with Germany. But there 
is equally no doubt that Stalin’s negotiating success was 
greatly assisted by his knowledge of the cards in 

Roosevelt’s handJ^ 

Despite the considerable success of the legal and illegal 
American residencies in penetrating the Roosevelt 
administration, however, they had failed totally in one 
important respect. Part of Zarubin’s original brief from 
the Centre had been to recruit agents from among the 
large German-American community who could be used 
against Germany. In the end he recruited not a single one. 
When asked to explain this omission, he told the Centre 
that most German-Americans were Jews and therefore 
unsuitable. The Centre, like Zarubin, had become so 
engrossed in the intelligence offensive against its allies 
that it appears to have judged leniently his failure against 
the enemy. 

to expand in Britain as well as the United States. At the 
beginning of 1942 a second legal residency began to 
operate in London under Ivan Andreyevich Chichayev 
(JOHN) alongside that of Anatoli Gorsky (successively 
HENRY and VADIM). Unlike Gorsky, who remained in 
charge of the agent network, Chichayev announced his 
presence in London to the authorities and was responsible 
for intelligence liaison with both the British and allied 
govemments-in-exile.^^ Chichayev also ran an agent 
network of emigre officials from central and eastern 
Europe who kept him informed of British negotiations 

with the Polish govemment-in-exile, the Czechoslovak 
president, Edvard Bene's, King Peter of Yugoslavia and 
his prime minister, Ivan Subas7^ 

The Cambridge Five, meanwhile, continued to generate 
a phenomenal amount of intelligence. For 1942 alone 
Maclean’s documents filled more than forty-five volumes 
in the Centre archives. Philby too was providing large 
quantities of highly classified files. Since September 1941 
he had been working in Section V (Counter-intelligence) 
of SIS. Though Section V was then located in St. Albans, 
rather than in SIS Fondon headquarters at Broadway 
Buildings, it had the advantage of being next door to the 
registry which housed SIS archives. Philby spent some 
time cultivating the archivist. Bill Woodfield, with whom 
he shared a common appreciation of pink gin. As Philby 
later recalled, “This friendly connection paid off.”^^ Over 
a period of months, Philby borrowed the operational files 
of British agents working abroad and handed them to 
Gorsky in batches to be photographed.^^ Early in April 
1942 the Centre completed a lengthy analysis of the SIS 
records removed by Philby up to the end of the previous 
year. Though praising SOHNCHEN for “systematically 
sending a lot of interesting material,” it was puzzled that 
this material appeared to show that SIS had no agent 
network in Russia and was conducting only “extremely 
insignificanf ’ operations against the Soviet Union. Centre 
analysts had two reasons for disputing these entirely 

accurate conclusions. First, though at least partly aware 
that the evidence used to convict some of their liquidated 
predecessors of working for British intelligence was 
fraudulent, they remained convinced that SIS had been 
conducting major operations against the Soviet Union, 
using “their most highly skilled agents,” throughout the 
1930s. The reality — that SIS had not even possessed a 
Moscow station — was, so far as the Centre was 
concerned, literally unbelievable. The Centre refused to 
believe that the Soviet Union was a smaller priority for 
British intelligence (which was, in truth, almost wholly 
geared to the war effort) than Britain was for Soviet 

If the HOTEL [SIS] has recruited a hundred agents 
in Europe over the past few years, mainly from 
countries occupied by the Germans, there can be no 
doubt that our country gets no less attention. 

Such reports merely echoed Stalin’s own acute suspicions 
of his British allies. 

The intelligence from the London residency during the 
first year of the Great Patriotic War which ultimately had 
the greatest impact on both Stalin and the Centre came 
from Caimcross. On September 25, 1941 Gorsky 
telegraphed Moscow: 

I am informing you very briefly about the contents of 

a most secret report of the Government Committee 
on the development of uranium atomic energy to 
produce explosive material which was submitted on 
September 24, 1941 to the War Cabinet. 

The secret committee which produced the report was the 
Scientific Advisory Committee, chaired by Lord Hankey, 
whose codename BOSS reflects the fact he was 
Caimcross’s employer. The report which Caimcross 
gave Gorsky was the first to alert the Centre to British 
plans to build the atomic bomb.^^ 

Vitally important though that report, and others on the 
atomic bomb despatched from London over the next few 
months, proved to be, they had a delayed impact in 
Moscow. When Caimcross’s first report arrived, Stalin 
and the Stavka were preoccupied by the German advance 
which in October 1941 forced them to evacuate the 
capital. It was not until March 1942 that Beria sent Stalin 
a full assessment of British atomic research. The British 
high command, he reported, was now satisfied that the 
theoretical problems of constmcting an atomic bomb had 
been “fundamentally solved,” and Britain’s best scientists 
and major companies were collaborating on the project. 
At Beria’ s suggestion, detailed consultations with Soviet 
scientists followed over the next few months. 

In June 1942 President Roosevelt ordered an all-out 
effort, codenamed the MANHATTAN project, to build an 

American atomic bomb. Though it was another year 
before British participation in the project was formally 
agreed, the NKVD discovered that Roosevelt and 
Churchill had discussed cooperation on the building of the 
bomb during talks in Washington on June 20.^^ On 
October 6, following extensive consultations with Soviet 
scientists, the Centre submitted the first detailed report on 
Anglo-American plans to construct an atomic bomb to the 
Central Committee and the State Defence Committee, 
both chaired by Stalin. By the end of the year, Stalin 
had decided to begin work on the construction of a Soviet 
atomic bomb.^^ In taking that momentous decision in the 
middle of the battle of Stalingrad, the main turning point 
in the war on the eastern front, Stalin was not thinking of 
the needs of the Great Patriotic War, since it was clear 
that the bomb could not be ready in time to assist in the 
defeat of Germany. Instead, he was already looking 
forward to a post-war world in which, since the United 
States and Britain would have nuclear weapons, the 
Soviet Union must have them too.^^ 

For most of the Great Patriotic War Moscow collected 
more atomic intelligence from Britain than from the 
United States. In December 1942 the London residency 
received a detailed report on atomic research in Britain 
and the United States from a Communist scientist 
codenamed “K.” Vladimir Barkovsky, head of scientific 
and technological intelligence (S&T) at the residency. 

later reported that “K” “works for us with enthusiasm, but 
... turns down the slightest hint of financial reward.” With 
the help of a duplicate key personally manufactured by 
Barkovsky from a wax impression provided by “K,” he 
was able to remove numerous classified documents from 
colleagues’ safes as well as his own. The most valuable, 
in the Centre’s view, were those on “the construction of 
uranium piles.” At least two other scientists, codenamed 
MOOR and KELLY, also provided intelligence on 
various aspects of TUBE ALLOYS, the British atomic 

The most important of the British atom spies, the 
Communist physicist Klaus Fuchs, a naturalized refugee 
from Nazi Germany, was initially a GRU rather than an 
NKVD/NKGB agent. Fuchs was a committed Stalinist 
who was later to take part in the construction of the first 
atomic bomb. Before the war he had been an enthusiastic 
participant in dramatized readings of the transcripts of the 
show trials organized by the Society for Cultural 
Relations with the Soviet Union, and impressed his 
research supervisor, the future Nobel Laureate Sir Neville 
Mott, with the passion with which he played the part of 
the prosecutor Vyshinsky, “accusing the defendants with 
a cold venom that I would never have suspected from so 
quiet and retiring a young man.” Late in 1941, Fuchs 
asked the leader of the German Communist Party (KPD) 
underground in Britain, Jurgen Kuczynski, for help in 
passing to the Russians what he had learned while 

working on the TUBE ALLOYS project at Birmingham 
University. Kuczynski put him in touch with Simon 
Davidovich Kremer, an officer at the GRU London 
residency, who irritated Fuchs by his insistence on taking 
long rides in London taxis, regularly doubling back in 
order to throw off anyone trying to tail them.^^ 

In the summer of 1942 Fuchs was moved on to another 
and more congenial GRU controller, SONYA (referred to 
in KGB files under the alternative codename FIR),^^ who 
he almost certainly never realized was the sister of Jurgen 
Kuczynski. They usually met near Banbury, midway 
between Birmingham and Oxford, where SONYA lived 
as Mrs. Brewer, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany. 
SONYA remembered the material she collected from 
Fuchs as “just strings of hieroglyphics and formula 
written in such tiny writing that they just looked like 

Klaus and I never spent more than half an hour 
together when we met. Two minutes would have 
been enough but, apart from the pleasure of the 
meeting, it would arouse less suspicion if we took a 
little walk together rather than parting immediately. 
Nobody who did not live in such isolation can guess 
how precious these meetings with another German 
comrade were.^^ 

SONYA later became the only woman ever to be made 

an honorary colonel of the Red Army, in recognition of 
her remarkable achievements in the GRU^^ But though it 
has been publicly acknowledged that she ran other agents 
besides Fuchs during her time in Britain, both the SVR 
and the GRU have gone to some pains to conceal the 
existence of the most important of them: Melita Stedman 
Norwood, nee Semis (codenamed HOLA). Norwood’s 
file in the Centre shows her to have been, in all 
probability, both the most important British female agent 
in KGB history and the longest- serving of all Soviet spies 
in Britain. 

HOLA was bom in 1912 to a Latvian father and British 
mother, joined the Communist Party of Great Britain 
(CPGB), married another Party member employed as a 
mathematics teacher in a secondary school, and from the 
age of twenty onwards worked as a secretary in the 
research department of the British Non-Ferrous Metals 
Association. Talent-spotted in 1935 by one of the CPGB’s 
founders, Andrew Rothstein, she was recommended to the 
NKVD by the Party leadership and recmited two years 
later. Like the Magnificent Five, Norwood was a 
committed ideological agent inspired by a myth-image of 
the Soviet Union which bore little relationship to the 
bmtal reality of Stalinist mle. Her forty-year career as a 
Soviet agent, however, nearly ended almost as soon as it 
began. She was involved with a spy ring operating inside 
the Woolwich Arsenal, whose three leading members 
were arrested in January 1938, tried and imprisoned three 

months later. MI5 failed, however, to detect clues to her 
identity contained in a notebook taken from the 
ringleader, Percy Glading (codenamed GOT), and after a 
few months “on ice” she was reactivated in May 1938. It 
is a sign of the Centre’s high opinion of Norwood that 
contact with her was maintained at a time when it was 
broken with many other agents, including some of the 
Five, because of the recall or liquidation of most foreign 
intelligence officers. 

Contact with Norwood was suspended, however, after 
the temporary closure of the London residency early in 
1940. When reactivated in 1941, she was for unexplained 
reasons handed over to SONYA of the GRU rather than to 
an NKVD controller. Her job at the Non-Ferrous Metals 
Association gave her access to extensive S&T documents 
which she passed on to SONYA and subsequent 
controllers. By the final months of the war Norwood was 
providing intelligence on the TUBE ALLOYS project. 
According to Mitrokhin’s notes on her file, she was 
assessed throughout her career as a “committed, reliable 
and disciplined agent, striving to be of the utmost 

By the beginning of 1943, aware of American plans to 
build the first atomic bomb, the Centre was even more 
anxious to collect atomic intelligence in the United States 
than in Britain. One certain indication of the importance 
attached by the Centre to monitoring the MANHATTAN 
project was the dispatch of its head of scientific and 

technological intelligence, Leonid Romanovich 
Kvasnikov (ANTON), to New York where he became 
deputy resident for S&T in January 1943.^^ Igor 
Vasiliy evich Kurchatov, the newly appointed scientific 
head of the Soviet atomic project, wrote to Beria on 
March 7: 

My examination of the [intelligence] material has 
shown that their receipt is of enormous and 
invaluable significance to our nation and our science. 
On the one hand, the material has demonstrated the 
seriousness and intensity of the scientific research 
being conducted on uranium in Britain, and on the 
other hand, it has made it possible to obtain 
important guidelines for our own scientific research, 
by-passing many extremely difficult phases in the 
development of this problem, learning new scientific 
and technical routes for its development, establishing 
three new areas for Soviet physics, and learning 
about the possibilities for using not only uranium- 
235 but also uranium-238.^^ 

While Beria was reading the report, a new top-secret 
laboratory was starting work at Los Alamos in New 
Mexico to build the first atomic bomb. Los Alamos 
contained probably the most remarkable collection of 
youthful talent ever assembled in a single laboratory. A 
majority of the scientists who worked on the bomb were 

still in their twenties; the oldest, Robert Oppenheimer, the 
head of the laboratory, was thirtynine. Los Alamos 
eventually included twelve Nobel Laureates. 

In April 1943, a month after the opening of Los 
Alamos, the New York residency reported an important 
source on the MANHATTAN project. An unknown 
woman had turned up at the Soviet consulate-general and 
delivered a letter containing classified information on the 
atomic weapons program. A month later the same woman, 
who again declined to give her name, brought another 
letter with details of research on the plutonium route to 
the atomic bomb. Investigations by the New York 
residency revealed that the woman was an Italian nurse, 
whose first name was Lucia, the daughter of an anti- 
fascist Italian union leader, “D.” At a meeting arranged by 
the residency through the leaders of the Friends of the 
USSR Society, Lucia said that she was acting only as an 
intermediary. The letters came from her brother-in-law, an 
American scientist working on plutonium research for the 
Du Pont company in Newport while completing a degree 
course in New York, who had asked his wife Regina to 
pass his correspondence to the Soviet consulate via her 
sister Lucia. The scientist — apparently the first of the 
American atom spies — was recruited under the codename 
MAR; Regina became MONA and Lucia OLIVIA.^^ 

In June the New York residency forwarded intelligence 
on uranium isotope separation through gaseous diffusion 
from an unidentified agent codenamed KVANT 

(“Quantum”) working for the MANHATTAN project. 
KVANT demanded payment and was given 300 
dollars. On July 3, after examining the latest atomic 
intelligence from the United States, Kurchatov wrote to 
the NKVD (probably to Beria in person): 

I have examined the attached list of American 
projects on uranium. Almost every one of them is of 
great interest to us ... These materials are of 
enormous interest and great value ... The receipt of 
further information of this type is extremely 

As yet, however, atomic intelligence from the United 
States was less detailed than that obtained from Britain in 
1941-2.^^^ Among those who supplied some of the further 
intelligence requested by Kurchatov was MAR, who in 
October 1943 was transferred to the Du Pont plant in 
Hanford, Washington State, which produced plutonium 
for the MANHATTAN project. He told his controller that 
his aim was to defeat the “criminal” attempt of the US 
military to conceal the construction of an atomic bomb 
from the USSR.^^^ Other sources of atomic intelligence 
included a “progressive professor” in the radiation 
laboratory at Berkeley, California, and — ^probably — a 
scientist in the MANHATTAN project’s metallurgical 
laboratory at Chicago University. The mercenary 

KVANT seems to have faded away, but by early 1944 
another agent, a Communist construction engineer 
codenamed FOGEL (later PERS), was providing 
intelligence on the plant and equipment being used in the 
MANHATTAN project. There is, however, no reliable 
evidence that Soviet intelligence yet had an agent inside 
Los Alamos. 

The penetration of the MANHATTAN project was 
only the most spectacular part of a vast wartime 
expansion of Soviet scientific and technological 
espionage. S&T from the United States and Britain made 
a major contribution to the development of Soviet radar, 
radio technology, submarines, jet engines, aircraft and 
synthetic rubber, as well as nuclear weapons. Atomic 
intelligence was codenamed ENORMOZ (“Enormous”), 
jet propulsion VOZDUKH (“Air”), radar RADUGA 
(“Rainbow”). A. S. Yakovlev, the aircraft designer and 
Deputy Commissar of the Aviation Industry, paid 
handsome, though private, tribute to the contribution of 
S&T to the Soviet aircraft which bore his name.^^^ 
Political and military intelligence from inside all the main 
branches of the Roosevelt administration also continued 
to expand, thanks chiefly to the increasing activity of 
Akhmerov’s Washington networks. The rolls of film of 
classified documents sent by his illegal residency to 
Moscow via New York increased from 21 1 in 1943 to 600 

in 1944.111 

THE QUALITY OF political intelligence from Britain 
probably exceeded even that from the United States, 
partly as a result of the greater coordination of British 
government and intelligence assessment through the War 
Cabinet and the Joint Intelligence Committee (of which 
there were no real equivalents in the United States, 
despite the existence of bodies with similar names). The 
wartime files of the London residency contain what 
Mitrokhin’s summary describes as “many secrets of the 
British War Cabinet,” correspondence between Churchill 
and Roosevelt, telegrams exchanged between the Foreign 
Office, the embassies in Moscow, Washington, 
Stockholm, Ankara and Tehran, and the minister-resident 
in Cairo, and intelligence reports. From the summer of 
1942 to the summer of 1943, the intelligence reports 
included ULTRA decrypts direct from Bletchley Park, the 
main wartime home of the British SIGINT agency, where 
John Caimcross spent a year as a Soviet agent. His 
controller, Anatoli Gorsky, whom, like the rest of the 
Five, he knew as “Henry,” gave him the money to buy a 
second-hand car to bring ULTRA to London on his days 
off.^^^ Because of the unprecedented wartime 
collaboration of the Anglo-American intelligence 
communities, the London residency was also able to 
provide American as well as British intelligence. 

The problem for the professionally suspicious minds in 

the Centre was that it all seemed too good to be true. 
Taking their cue from the master conspiracy theorist in 
the Kremlin, they eventually concluded that what 
appeared to be the best intelligence ever obtained from 
Britain by any intelligence service was at root a British 
plot. The Five, later acknowledged as the ablest group of 
agents in KGB history, were discredited in the eyes of the 
Centre leadership by their failure to provide evidence of a 
massive, non-existent British conspiracy against the 
Soviet Union. Of the reality of that conspiracy, Stalin, and 
therefore his chief intelligence advisers, had no doubt. In 
October 1942 Stalin wrote to the Soviet ambassador in 
Britain, Ivan Maisky: 

All of us in Moscow have gained the impression that 
Churchill is aiming at the defeat of the USSR, in 
order then to come to terms with the Germany of 
Hitler or Briining at the expense of our country. 

Always in Stalin’s mind when he brooded on Churchill’s 
supposed wartime conspiracies against him was the figure 
of Hitler’s deputy Fiihrer, Rudolf Hess, whom, he told 
Maisky, Churchill was keeping “in reserve.” In May 1941 
Hess had made a bizarre flight to Scotland, in the deluded 
belief that he could arrange peace between Britain and 
Germany. Both London and Berlin correctly concluded 
that Hess was somewhat deranged. Stalin, inevitably, 
believed instead that Hess’s flight was part of a deeply 

laid British plot. His suspicions deepened after the 
German invasion in June. For at least the next two years 
he suspected that Hess was part of a British conspiracy to 
abandon its alliance with the Soviet Union and sign a 
separate peace with Germany.^ At dinner with Churchill 
in the Kremlin in October 1944 Stalin proposed a toast to 
“the British intelligence service which had inveigled Hess 
into coming to England:” “He could not have landed 
without being given signals. The intelligence service must 
have been behind it all.”^^^ Stalin’s mood at dinner was 
jovial, but his conspiracy theory was deadly earnest. If his 
misunderstanding of Hess’s flight to Britain did not derive 
from Centre intelligence assessments, it was certainly 
reinforced by them. As late as the early 1990s the same 
conspiracy theory was still being publicly propounded by 
a KGB spokesman who claimed that in 1941 Hess 
“brought the Fiihrer’s peace proposals with him and a 
plan for the invasion of the Soviet Union.” That myth is 
still, apparently, believed by some of their SVR 

On October 25, 1943 the Centre informed the London 
residency that it was now clear, after long analysis of the 
voluminous intelligence from the Five, that they were 
double agents, working on the instructions of SIS and 
MI5. As far back as their years at Cambridge, Philby, 
Maclean and Burgess had probably been acting on 
instructions from British intelligence to infiltrate the 

student left before making contact with the NKVD. Only 
thus, the Centre reasoned, was it possible to explain why 
both SIS and MI5 were currently employing in highly 
sensitive jobs Cambridge graduates with a Communist 
background. The lack of any reference to British 
recruitment of Soviet agents in the intelligence supplied 
either by SOHNCHEN (Philby) from SIS or by TONY 
(Blunt) from MI5 was seen as further evidence that both 
were being used to feed disinformation to the NKGB: 

During the entire period that S[OHNCHEN] and 
T[ONY] worked for the British special services, they 
did not help expose a single valuable ISLANDERS 
[British] agent either in the USSR or in the Soviet 
embassy in the ISLAND [Britain]. 

There was, of course, no such “valuable agent” for Philby 
or Blunt to expose, but that simple possibility did not 
occur to the conspiracy theorists in the Centre. Philby ’s 
accurate report that “at the present time the HOTEL [SIS] 
is not engaged in active work against the Soviet Union” 
was also, in the Centre’s view, obvious disinformation. 

Since the Five were double agents, it followed that 
those they had recruited to the NKVD were also plants. 
One example which particularly exercised the Centre was 
the case of Peter Smollett (ABO), who in 1941 had 
achieved the remarkable feat of becoming head of the 
Russian department in the wartime Ministry of 

Information. By 1943 Smollett was using his position to 
organize pro-Soviet propaganda on a prodigious scale. A 
vast meeting at the Albert Hall in February to celebrate 
the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Red Army included 
songs of praise by a massed choir, readings by John 
Gielgud and Laurence Olivier, and was attended by 
leading politicians from all parties. The film USSR at War 
was shown to factory audiences of one and a quarter 
million. In September 1943 alone, the Ministry of 
Information organized meetings on the Soviet Union for 
34 public venues, 35 factories, 100 voluntary societies, 28 
civil defense groups, 9 schools and a prison; the BBC in 
the same month broadcast thirty programs with a 
substantial Soviet content. Yet, because Smollett had 
been recruited by Philby, he was, in the eyes of the 
Centre, necessarily a plant. His apparently spectacular 
success in organizing pro- Soviet propaganda on an 
unprecedented scale was thus perversely interpreted as a 
cunning plot by British intelligence to hoodwink the 

Even the hardened conspiracy theorists of the Centre, 
however, had some difficulty in explaining why the Five 
were providing, along with disinformation, such large 
amounts of accurate high-grade intelligence. In its missive 
to the London residency of October 25, the Centre 
suggested a number of possible answers to this baffling 
problem. The sheer quantity of Foreign Office documents 
supplied by Maclean might indicate, it believed, that. 

unlike the other four, he was not consciously deceiving 
the NKVD, but was merely being manipulated by the 
others to the best of their ability. The Centre also argued 
that the Five were instructed to pass on important 
intelligence about Germany which did not harm British 
interests in order to make their disinformation about 
British policy more credible. 

The most valuable “documentary material about the 
work of the Germans” in 1943 was the German decrypts 
supplied by Caimcross from Bletchley Park. A brief 
official biography of Fitin published by the SVR singles 
out for special mention the ULTRA intelligence obtained 
from Britain on German preparations for the battle of 
Kursk when the Red Army halted Hitler’s last major 
offensive on the eastern front. The Luftwaffe decrypts 
provided by Caimcross were of cmcial importance in 
enabling the Red Air Force to launch massive pre-emptive 
strikes against German airfields which destroyed over 500 
enemy aircraft. 

The Centre’s addiction to conspiracy theory ran so 
deep, however, that it was capable of regarding the agent 
who supplied intelligence of critical importance before 
Kursk as part of an elaborate network of deception. It 
therefore ordered the London residency to create a new 
independent agent network uncontaminated by the Five. 
But, though the Five were “undoubtedly double agents,” 
the residency was ordered to maintain contact with them. 

The Centre gave three reasons for this apparently 
contradictory decision. First, if British intelligence 
realized that their grand deception involving the Five had 
been discovered, they might well intensify their search for 
the new network intended to replace them. Secondly, the 
Centre acknowledged that, despite the Five’s 
“unquestionable attempts to disinform us,” they were 
none the less providing “valuable material about the 
Germans and other matters.” Finally, “Not all the 
questions about this group of agents have been completely 
cleared up.” The Centre was, in other words, seriously 
confused about what exactly the Five were up to.^^^ 

To try to discover the exact nature of the British 
intelligence conspiracy, the Centre sent, for the first time 
ever, a special eight-man surveillance team to the London 
residency to trail the Five and other supposedly bogus 
Soviet agents in the hope of discovering their contacts 
with their non-existent British controllers. The same team 
also investigated visitors to the Soviet embassy, some of 
whom were suspected of being MI5 agents provocateurs. 
The new surveillance system was hilariously 
unsuccessful. None of the eight-man team spoke English; 
all wore conspicuously Russian clothes, were visibly ill at 
ease in English surroundings and must frequently have 
disconcerted those they followed. 

The absurdity of trailing the Five highlights the central 
weakness in the Soviet intelligence system. The Centre’s 
ability to collect intelligence from the West always 

comfortably exceeded its capacity to interpret what it 
collected. Moscow’s view of its British allies was 
invariably clouded by variable amounts of conspiracy 
theory. The Soviet leadership was to find it easier to 
replicate the first atomic bomb than to understand policy- 
making in London. 



Given the closeness of the British-American “special 
relationship,” the Centre inevitably suspected that some of 
the President’s advisers sympathized with Churchill’s 
supposed anti-Soviet plots. ^ Suspicions of Roosevelt 
himself, however, were never as intense as those of 
Churchill. Nor did the Centre form conspiracy theories 
about its American agents as preposterous as those about 
the Cambridge Five. Perhaps because the NKVD had 
penetrated the OSS from the moment of its foundation, it 
was less inclined to believe that United States intelligence 
was running a system of deception which compared with 
the supposed use of the Five by the British. The CPUS A’ s 
assistance in the operation to assassinate Trotsky, 
combined with the enthusiasm with which it “exposed and 
weeded out spies and traitors,”^ appeared to make its 
underground section a reliable recruiting ground. Vasili 
Zarubin’s regular contacts with the CPUS A leader, Earl 
Browder, plainly convinced him of the reliability of those 
covert Party members who agreed to provide secret 

By the spring of 1943, however, the Centre was 
worried about the security of its large and expanding 
American agent network. Zarubin became increasingly 
incautious both in his meetings with Party leaders and in 
arranging for the payment to them of secret subsidies 
from Moscow. One of the files noted by Mitrokhin 
records censoriously, “Without the approval of the 
Central Committee, Zarubin crudely violated the rules of 
clandestinity.” On one occasion Browder asked Zarubin 
to deliver Soviet money personally to the Communist 
underground organization in Chicago; the implication in 
the KGB file is that he agreed. On another occasion, in 
April 1943, Zarubin traveled to California for a secret 
meeting with Steve Nelson, who ran a secret control 
commission to seek out informants and spies in the 
Californian branch of the Communist Party, but failed to 
find Nelson’s home. Only on a second visit did he 
succeed in delivering the money. On this occasion, 
however, the meeting was bugged by the FBI which had 
placed listening devices in Nelson’s home.^ The Soviet 
ambassador in Washington was told confidentially by 
none other than Roosevelt’s adviser, Harry Hopkins, that 
a member of his embassy had been detected passing 
money to a Communist in California.^ 

Though Zarubin became somewhat more discreet after 
this “friendly warning,” his cover had been blown. Worse 
was yet to come. Four months later Zarubin was secretly 
denounced to the FBI by Vasili Mironov, a senior officer 

in the New York residency who had earlier appealed 
unsuccessfully to the Centre for Zarubin’s recall.^ In an 
extraordinary anonymous letter to Hoover on August 7, 
1943, Mironov identified Zarubin and ten other leading 
members of residencies operating under diplomatic cover 
in the United States, himself included, as Soviet 
intelligence officers. He also revealed that Browder was 
closely involved with Soviet espionage and identified the 
Hollywood producer Boris Morros (FROST) as a Soviet 
agent. Mironov’s motives derived partly from personal 
loathing for Zarubin himself He told Hoover, speaking of 
himself in the third person, that Zarubin and Mironov 
“both hate each other.” Mironov also appears to have 
been tortured by a sense of guilt for his part in the 
NKVD’s massacre of the Polish officer corps in 1940. 
Zarubin, he told Hoover, “interrogated and shot Poles in 
Kozelsk, Mironov in Starobelsk.” (In reality, though 
Zarubin did interrogate some of the Polish officers, he 
does not appear to have been directly involved in their 
execution.) But there are also clear signs in Mironov’s 
letter, if not of mental illness, at least of the paranoid 
mindset generated by the Terror. He accused Zarubin of 
being a Japanese agent and his wife of working for 
Germany, and concluded bizarrely: “If you prove to 
Mironov that Z is working for the Germans and Japanese, 
he will immediately shoot him without a trial, as he too 
holds a very high post in the NKVD.”^ 

By the time Mironov’s extraordinary denunciation 

reached the FBI, Zarubin had moved from New York to 
Washington — a move probably prompted by the steady 
growth in intelligence of all kinds from within the 
Roosevelt administration. As the senior NKVD officer in 
the United States, Zarubin retained overall control in 
Washington of the New York and San Francisco 
residencies; responsibility for liaison with the head of the 
CPUS A, Browder, and with the head of the illegal 
residency, Akhmerov; and direct control of some of his 
favorite agents, among them the French politician Pierre 
Cot and the British intelligence officer Cedric Belfrage, 
whom he took over from Golos.^ 

With his cover blown, however, Zarubin found life in 
Washington difficult. One of his most humiliating 
moments came at a dinner for members of the Soviet 
embassy given early in 1944 by the governor of 
Louisiana, Sam Houston Jones. ^ After dinner, as guests 
wandered round the governor’s house in small groups, a 
lady who appeared to know that Zarubin was a senior 
NKGB officer, turned to him and said, “Have a seat. 
General!” Zarubin, whose fuse and sense of humor were 
both somewhat short, took the seat but replied stiffly, “I 
am not a general!” Another guest, who identified himself 
as an officer in military intelligence, complimented the 
lady on her inside knowledge. He then caused Zarubin 
further embarrassment by asking for his views on the 
massacre of 16,000 Polish officers, some of whose bodies 
had been exhumed in the Katyn woods. Zarubin replied 

that German allegations that the officers had been shot by 
the NKVD (as indeed they had) were a provocation 
intended to sow dissension within the Grand Alliance 
which would deceive only the naive. ^ 

Zarubin subsequently sought to persuade the Centre 
that his humiliating loss of cover was due not to his own 
indiscretion but to the fact that the Americans had 
somehow discovered that he had interrogated imprisoned 
Polish officers in Kozelsk. The Centre was unimpressed. 
In a letter to the Central Committee, the NKGB Personnel 
Directorate reported that his period as resident in the 
United States had been marked by a series of blunders. 
Mironov not long before had informed on Zarubin to 
Hoover, now appears to have written to Stalin, accusing 
Zarubin of being in contact with the FBI. ^ ^ In the summer 
of 1944, both Zarubin and Mironov were recalled to 
Moscow. Anatoli Gorsky, who until a few months earlier 
had been resident in London, succeeded Zarubin in 

Once back in Moscow, Zarubin quickly succeeded in 
reestablishing his position at the expense of Mironov and 
was appointed deputy chief of foreign intelligence. By the 
time he retired three years later, allegedly on grounds of 
ill health, he had succeeded in taking much of the credit 
for the remarkable wartime intelligence obtained from the 
United States, and was awarded two Orders of Lenin, two 
Orders of the Red Banner, one Order of the Red Star, and 

numerous medals. Mironov, by contrast, was sentenced 
soon after his return to Moscow to five years in a labor 
camp, probably for making false accusations against 
Zarubin. In 1945 he tried to smuggle out of prison to the 
US embassy in Moscow information about the NKVD 
massacre of Polish officers similar to that which, 
unknown to the Centre, he had sent to the FBI two years 
earlier. On this occasion Mironov was caught in the act, 
given a second trial and shot.^^ 

Even after the recall of Zarubin and Mironov, feuding 
and denunciations continued within the American 
residencies. As with Mironov’s bizarre accusations, some 
of the feuds had an almost surreal quality about them. In 
August 1944 the newly appointed resident in San 
Francisco, Grigori Pavlovich Kasparov, telegraphed to the 
Centre a bitter denunciation of the resident in Mexico 
City, Lev Tarasov, who, he claimed, had bungled attempts 
to liberate Trotsky’s assassin, Ramon Mercader, and had 
adopted a “grand lifestyle.” As well as renting a house 
with grounds and employing two servants in addition to 
the staff allocated to him, Tarasov was alleged to be 
spending too much time breeding parrots, poultry and 
other birds. The fate of Tarasov’s denounced parrots is 
not recorded. 

There was dissension too in New York, where the 
inexperienced 28-year-old Stepan Apresyan (MAY) had 
been appointed resident early in 1944, despite the fact that 

he had never previously been outside the Soviet Union. 
His appointment was bitterly resented by his much more 
experienced deputy, Roland Abbiate (alias “Vladimir 
Pravdin,” codenamed SERGEI), whose previous 
assignments had included the liquidation of the defector 
Ignace Poretsky. Operating under cover as the Tass 
bureau chief in New York, Abbiate had a grasp of 
American conditions which greatly exceeded Apresyan’s, 
but his career continued to be held back by the fact that, 
although he had been bom in St. Petersburg in 1902, his 
parents were French and had returned to France in 1920. 
Abbiate had returned with them, living in France until his 
recmitment by the OGPU as an illegal in 1932.^^ 

As a stop-gap measure to compensate for Apresyan’s 
now visible incompetence, the Centre gave Abbiate 
virtually equal status with Apresyan in the autumn of 
1944 in mnning the residency. Abbiate responded by 
telegraphing to Moscow a scathing attack on Apresyan, 
whom he condemned as “incapable of dealing with the 
tasks which are set him” or of gaining the respect of his 

MAY [Apresyan] is utterly without the knack of 
dealing with people, frequently showing himself 
excessively abmpt and inclined to nag, and too rarely 
finding time to chat with them. Sometimes our 
operational workers ... cannot get an answer to an 
urgent question from him for several days at a time 

... A worker who has no experience of work abroad 
cannot cope on his own with the work of directing 
the TYRE OFFICE [New York residency]. 

The real responsibility, Abbiate clearly implied, rested 
with the Centre for appointing such an obviously 
unsuitable and unqualified resident. The civil war 
between the resident and his deputy continued for just 
over a year before ending in victory for Abbiate. In March 
1945 Apresyan was transferred to San Francisco, leaving 
Abbiate as resident in New York.^^ 

WHIFF THE WASHINGTON and New York residencies 
were both in some turmoil in the summer of 1944, sanity 
was returning to Fondon. The Magnificent Five were 
officially absolved of all suspicion of being double agents 
controlled by the British. On June 29 the Centre informed 
the Fondon residency, then headed by Konstantin 
Mikhailovich Kukin (codenamed IGOR),^^ that recent 
important SIS documents provided by Philby had been 
largely corroborated by material from “other sources” 
(some probably in the American OSS, with whom SIS 
exchanged many highly classified reports) “This is a 
serious confirmation of S[OHNCHEN]’s honesty in his 
work with us, which obliges us to review our attitude 
toward him and the entire group.” It was now clear, the 
Centre acknowledged, that intelligence from the Five was 

“of great value,” and contact with them must be 
maintained at all costs: 

On our behalf express much gratitude to 
S[OHNCHEN] for his work ... If you find it 
convenient and possible, offer S[OHNCHEN] in the 
most tactful way a bonus of 100 pounds or give him 
a gift of equal value. 

After six years in which his phenomenal work as a 
penetration agent had been frequently undervalued, 
ignored or suspected by the Centre, Philby was almost 
pathetically grateful for the long overdue recognition of 
his achievements. “During this decade of work,” he told 
Moscow, “I have never been so deeply touched as now 
with your gift and no less deeply excited by your 
communication [of thanks]. 

High among the intelligence which restored the 
Centre’s faith in Philby were his reports, beginning early 
in 1944, on the founding by SIS of a new Section IX “to 
study past records of Soviet and Communist activity.” 
Urged on by his new controller, Boris Krotenschield 
(alias Krotov, codenamed KRECHIN), Philby succeeded 
at the end of the year in becoming head of an expanded 
Section IX, with a remit for “the collection and 
interpretation of information concerning Soviet and 
Communist espionage and subversion in all parts of the 
world outside British territory.” As one of his SIS 

colleagues, Robert Cecil, wrote later, “Philby at one 
stroke had ... ensured that the whole post-war effort to 
counter Communist espionage would become known in 
the Kremlin. The history of espionage records few, if any, 
comparable masterstrokes.”^^ 

At about the same time that Philby was given his 
present, Caimcross was belatedly rewarded for his 
contribution to the epic Soviet victory at Kursk. 
Krotenschield informed him that he had been awarded 
one of the highest Soviet decorations, the Order of the 
Red Banner. He opened a velvet-lined box, took out the 
decoration and placed it in Caimcross ’s hands. 
Krotenschield reported to the Centre that Caimcross was 
visibly elated by the award, though he was told to hand it 
back for safekeeping in Moscow.^^ The award came too 
late, however, to achieve its full effect. In the summer of 
1943, exhausted by the strain of his regular car journeys 
to London to deliver ULTRA decrypts to Gorsky, and 
probably discouraged by Gorsky’s lack of appreciation, 
Caimcross had left Bletchley Park. Though he succeeded 
in obtaining a job in SIS, first in Section V 
(Counterintelligence), then in Section I (Political 
Intelligence), his importance in the Centre’s eyes now 
ranked clearly below that of Philby.^^ Unlike Philby, 
Caimcross did not get on well with his SIS colleagues. 
The head of Section I, David Footman, found him “an odd 
person, with a chip on his shoulder. 

Encouraged by the Centre’s new appreciation of their 
talents, the other members of the Five — Maclean, Burgess 
and Blunt — ^became even more productive than before. In 
the spring of 1944 Maclean was posted to the Washington 
embassy, where he was soon promoted to first secretary. 
His zeal was quickly apparent. According to one of his 
colleagues, “No task was too hard for him; no hours were 
too long. He gained the reputation of one who would 
always take over a tangled skein from a colleague who 
was sick, or going on leave, or simply less zealous.” The 
most sensitive, and in the NKGB’s view probably the 
most important, area of policy in which Maclean 
succeeded in becoming involved by early 1945 was 
Anglo-American collaboration in the building of the 
atomic bomb.^^ 

Burgess increased his usefulness to the NKGB by 
gaining a job in the Foreign Office press department soon 
after Maclean was posted to Washington. Claiming no 
doubt that he required access to a wide range of material 
to be adequately informed for press briefings, Burgess 
regularly filled a large holdall with Foreign Office 
documents, some of them highly classified, and took them 
to be photographed by the NKGB. The holdall, however, 
was almost his undoing. At a meeting with Krotenschield, 
Burgess was approached by a police patrol, who 
suspected that the bag contained stolen goods. Once 
reassured that the two men had no housebreaking 
equipment and that the holdall contained only papers, the 

patrol apologized and proceeded on its way. Though 
Burgess may subsequently have used a bag which less 
resembled that of a housebreaker, his productivity was 
unaffected. According to one of the files examined by 
Mitrokhin, of the Foreign Office documents provided by 
Burgess in the first six months of 1945, 389 were 
classified “top secret.”^^ 

Blunf s productivity was prodigious too. In addition to 
providing intelligence from MI5, he continued to run Leo 
Long in military intelligence, and in the crucial months 
before D-Day gained access to Supreme Headquarters 
Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF), not far from MI5 
headquarters.^^ Part of Blunt’s contribution to NKGB 
operations in London was to keep the residency informed 
of the nature and extent of MI5 surveillance. Intelligence 
which he provided in 1945 revealed that MI5 had 
discovered that his Cambridge contemporary, James 
Klugmann, was a Communist spy. In 1942 Klugmann had 
joined the Yugoslav section of SOE Cairo, where his 
intellect, charm and fluent Serbo-Croat gave him an 
influence entirely disproportionate to his relatively junior 
rank (which eventually rose to major). As well as briefing 
Allied officers about to be dropped into Yugoslavia, he 
also briefed the NKGB on British policy and secret 
operations. In both sets of briefings he sought to advance 
the interests of Tito’s Communist partisans over those of 
Mihailovich’s royalist Chetniks. For four months in 1945 
he served in Yugoslavia with the British military mission 

to Tito’s forces. Blunt was able to warn Krotenschield 
that MI5 listening devices in the British Communist Party 
headquarters in King Street, London, had recorded a 
conversation in which Klugmann boasted of secretly 
passing classified information to the Yugoslav 

WITH THE EXCEPTION of the Five, potentially the 
most important Soviet spy in Britain was the nuclear 
physicist Klaus Fuchs, recruited by the GRU late in 
1941.30 Fuchs left for the United States late in 1943 
as part of the British team chosen to take part in the 
MANHATTAN project, he was — though he did not 
realize it — transferred from GRU to NKGB control and 
given the codename REST (later changed to 
CHARLES).^ ^ Earlier in 1943, the Centre had instructed 
its residencies in Britain and the United States that “[t]he 
brain centers [scientific research establishments] must 
come within our jurisdiction.” Not for the first time, the 
GRU was forced to give way to the demands of its more 
powerful “neighbor.”^^ In 1944 Melita Norwood, the 
long-serving Soviet agent in the British Non-Ferrous 
Metals Association, ceased contact with SONYA of the 
GRU and was given an NKGB controller. In March 
1945, after her employer won a contract from the TUBE 
ALLOYS project, Norwood gained access to documents 
of atomic intelligence which the Centre described as 

“of great interest and a valuable contribution to the 
development of work in this field.” She was instructed to 
say nothing about her espionage work to her husband, and 
in particular to give no hint of her involvement in atomic 
intelligence.^^ Atomic intelligence from London and the 
American residencies was complementary as well as 
overlapping. According to Vladimir Barkovsky, head of 
S&T at the London residency, “In the USA we obtained 
information on how the bomb was made and in Britain of 
what it was made, so that together [intelligence from the 
two countries] covered the whole problem.”^^ 

On February 5, 1944 Fuchs had his first meeting in 
New York’s East Side with his NKGB controller, Harry 
Gold (codenamed successively GOOSE and ARNO), an 
industrial chemist bom in Switzerland of Russian 
parents. Fuchs was told to identify himself by carrying a 
tennis ball in his hand and to look for a man wearing one 
pair of gloves and carrying another. Gold, who 
introduced himself as “Raymond,” reported to Leonid 
Kvasnikov, head of S&T at the New York residency (later 
known as Line X), that Fuchs had “greeted him pleasantly 
but was rather cautious at first. Fuchs later claimed, 
after his arrest in 1949, that during their meetings “the 
attitude of ‘Raymond’ was at all times that of an inferior.” 
Gold admitted, after his own arrest by the FBI, that he 
was overawed by the extraordinary intelligence which 
Fuchs provided and had found the idea of an atomic bomb 

“so frightening that the only thing I could do was shove it 
away as far back in my mind as I could and simply not 
think on the matter at all.”^^ 

On July 25, 1944 the New York residency telegraphed 
the Centre: “Almost half a year of contact established 
with REST [Fuchs] has demonstrated the value of his 
work for us.” It asked permission to pay him a “reward” 
of 500 dollars. The Centre agreed, but, before the money 
could be handed over, Fuchs had disappeared.^^ It was 
over three months before Gold discovered that Fuchs had 
been posted to Fos Alamos, and he did not renew contact 
with him until Fuchs returned to the east coast on leave in 
February 1945.^^ 

During 1944 Kvasnikov’s responsibilities were 
extended: he was given the new post of S&T resident for 
the whole of the United States — a certain indication of the 
increasing priority of atomic espionage.^^ Fate in 1944 
Kvasnikov was able to inform the Centre that, in addition 
to Fuchs, there were now two more prospective spies at 
Fos Alamos. 

The first, David Greenglass, was recruited through a 
group of S&T agents run by Julius Rosenberg 
(codenamed successively ANTENNA and FIBERAF), a 
26-year-old New York Communist with a degree in 
electrical engineering. Fike Fuchs, the members of the 
Rosenberg ring, who included his wife Ethel, had been 
rewarded with cash bonuses in the summer. The ring was 

producing so many classified documents to be 
photographed in Kvasnikov’s apartment that the New 
York residency was running dangerously short of film. 
The residency reported that Rosenberg was receiving so 
much intelligence from his agents that he was finding it 
difficult to cope: “We are afraid of putting LIBERAL out 
of action with overwork. 

In November 1944 Kvasnikov informed the Centre that 
Ethel Rosenberg’s sister, Ruth Greenglass (codenamed 
WASP), had agreed to approach her husband, who 
worked as a machinist at Los Alamos. “I was young, 
stupid and immature,” said David Greenglass (codenamed 
BUMBLEBEE and CALIBRE) later, “but I was a good 
Communist.” Stalin and the Soviet leadership, he 
believed, were “really geniuses, every one of them:” 
“More power to the Soviet Union and abundant life for 
their peoples!” “My darling,” Greenglass wrote to his 
wife, “I most certainly will be glad to be part of the 
community project [espionage] that Julius and his friends 
[the Russians] have in mind.”^^ 

The New York residency also reported in November 
1944 that the precociously brilliant nineteen-year-old 
Harvard physicist Theodore Alvin (“Ted”) Hall, then 
working at Los Alamos, had indicated his willingness to 
collaborate. As well as being inspired by the myth-image 
of the Soviet worker-peasant state, which was an article of 
faith for most ideological Soviet agents. Hall convinced 

himself that an American nuclear monopoly would 
threaten the peace of the post-war world. Passing the 
secrets of the MANHATTAN project to Moscow was 
thus a way “to help the world,” as well as the Soviet 
Union. As the youngest of the atom spies, Hall was given 
the appropriate, if transparent, codename MLAD 
(“Young”). Though only one year older, the fellow 
Harvard student who first brought Hall into contact with 
the NKGB, Saville Savoy Sax, was codenamed STAR 
(“Old”).^^ Hall himself went on to become probably the 
youngest major spy of the twentieth century. 

THE PENETRATION OF Los Alamos was part of a more 
general surge in Soviet intelligence collection in the 
United States during the last two years of the war, as the 
NKGB’s agents, buoyed up by the remorseless advance of 
the Red Army towards Berlin and the opening of a second 
front, looked forward to a glorious victory over fascism. 
The number of rolls of microfilm sent by Akhmerov’s 
illegal residency to Moscow via New York grew from 
211 in 1943 to 600 in 1944 and 1,896 in 1945 The 
Centre, however, found it difficult to believe that 
espionage in the United States could really be as 
straightforward as it seemed. During 1944-5 the NKGB 
grew increasingly concerned about the security of its 
American operations and sought to bring them under 
more direct control.^^ Among its chief anxieties was 

Elizabeth Bentley’s habit of socializing with the agents 
for whom she acted as courier. When Bentley’s controller 
and lover, Jacob Golos, died from a sudden heart attack 
on Thanksgiving Day 1943, Akhmerov decided to 
dispense with a cut-out and act as her new controller. 
Bentley’s first impressions were of a smartly dressed 
“j aunty-looking man in his mid- thirties” with an 
expansive manner. (Akhmerov was actually fortytwo). 
She soon realized, however, that “despite the superficial 
appearance of a boulevardier, he was a tough character. 
For the next six months, though Bentley continued to act 
as courier for the Silvermaster group in Washington, she 
felt herself under increasing pressure. 

In March 1944 Earl Browder passed on to her another 
group of Washington bureaucrats who had been sending 
him intelligence which he had previously passed on to 
Golos. Bentley regarded Victor Perlo (RAIDER), a 
government statistician who provided intelligence on 
aircraft production, as the leader of the group — ^probably 
because he acted as spokesman during her first meeting 
with them.^^ Akhmerov, however, believed that the real 
organizer was Charles Kramer (LOT), a government 
economist, and was furious that the Perlo/Kramer network 
had been handed over by Browder not to him but to 
Bentley. For over a year, he told the Centre, Zarubin and 
he had wanted to make direct contact with the group, but 
Browder had failed to arrange it. “If we work with this 

group,” Akhmerov added, “it will be necessary to remove 

Bentley appealed to Browder for support as she 
struggled to remain the courier for the Washington 
networks. “Night after night, after battling with 
[Akhmerov],” wrote Bentley later, “I would crawl home 
to bed, sometimes too weary to undress.” Eventually, 
Bentley agreed to arrange a meeting between Akhmerov 
and Silvermaster (PAL). Soon afterwards, according to 
Bentley, Akhmerov told her, “almost drooling with 
arrogance:” “Earl [Browder] has agreed to turn Greg 
[Silvermaster] over to me ... Go and ask him.” “Don’t be 
naive,” Browder told Bentley the next day. “You know 
that when the cards are down, I have to take my orders 
from them.”^^ Akhmerov reported to the Centre that 
Bentley had taken her removal from the Silvermaster 
group “very much to heart ... evidently supposing that we 
do not trust her. She is offended at RULE VO Y [Browder] 
for having consented to our liaison with PAL.”^^ 

Bentley was also removed from contact with the 
Perlo/Kramer group. Gorsky tried to placate her by 
inviting her to dinner at a waterfront restaurant in 
Washington. He made a bad start. “I hope the food is 
good,” he said. “Americans are such stupid people that 
even when it comes to a simple matter like cooking a 
meal, they do it very badly.” “Ah, yes,” he added, seeing 
Bentley’s expression change. “I had forgotten for the 

moment that you, too, are an American.” Gorsky went on 
to tell her that she had been awarded the Order of the Red 
Star (“one of the highest — reserved for all our best 
fighters”) and showed her a facsimile: “We all think 
you’ve done splendidly and have a great future before 
you.” GOOD GIRL was not to be placated.^^ A year later 
she secretly began telling her story to the FBI. 

The Centre was also worried by increased FBI 
surveillance of the New York Soviet consulate, which 
housed the legal residency, and by a warning from 
Duncan Lee (KOCH) in September 1944 that the OSS 
Security Division was compiling a list of Communists and 
Communist sympathizers in OSS.^^ The Centre’s 
nervousness was shared by some of its best agents. 
Bentley found Lee himself “on the verge of cracking up ... 
so hypercautious that he had taken to crawling around the 
floor of his apartment on hands and knees examining the 
telephone wires to see if they had been tampered with.”^^ 
Another highly placed Soviet agent, the senior Treasury 
official Harry Dexter White (JURIST), told his controller 
that, though he was unconcerned for his own personal 
security and his wife had prepared herself “for any self- 
sacrifice,” he would have to be very cautious because of 
the damage to the “new course” (the Soviet cause) which 
would occur if he were exposed as a spy. He therefore 
proposed that in the future they have relatively infrequent 
meetings, each lasting about half an hour, while driving 

around in his car.^^ 

There was a further alarm in November which, 
according to Bentley, followed an urgent warning from an 
agent in the White House, Roosevelt’s administrative 
assistant Lauchlin Currie. Currie reported that “the 
Americans were on the verge of breaking the Soviet 
code.”^^ The alarm appears to have subsided when it was 
discovered that Currie had wrongly concluded that a fire- 
damaged NKGB codebook obtained by OSS from the 
Finns would enable Soviet communications (which went 
through a further, theoretically impenetrable, 
encipherment by “one-time pad”) to be decrypted.^ ^ 
(Given the phenomenal success of Anglo-American 
codebreakers in breaking the highest grade German and 
Japanese ciphers, Currie’s mistake is understandable.) At 
Roosevelt’s insistence, Donovan returned the NKGB 
codebook to the Soviet embassy. A doubtless bemused 
Fitin sent Donovan his “sincere thanks. 

DESPITE ALL THE Centre’s anxiety that Soviet 
espionage was about to be exposed, and despite all the 
confusion in the residencies, the NKGB’s eager American 
and British agents continued to provide intelligence 
remarkable for both its quantity and quality. The NKGB 
proudly calculated after the war that the grand total of its 
wartime agents and informers (“confidential contacts”) 
around the world had been 1,240, who had provided 

41,718 items of intelligence. Approximately 3,000 foreign 
intelligence reports and documents had been judged 
important enough to be sent to the State Defense 
Committee and the Central Committee. Eighty-seven 
foreign intelligence officers were decorated for their 
wartime work.^^ 

Moscow made far better use of S&T than of its political 
intelligence, which was always likely to be ignored or 
regarded with suspicion when it disagreed with Stalin’s 
conspiracy theories — or with those of the Centre, which 
were closely modeled on his. S&T from the West, by 
contrast, was welcomed with open and unsuspicious arms 
by Soviet scientists and technologists. A. F. Ioffe, the 
director of the USSR Academy of Sciences Leningrad 
Physics and Technological Institute, wrote of wartime 

The information always turns out to be accurate and 
for the most part very complete ... I have not 
encountered a single false finding. Verification of all 
the formulae and experiments invariably confirms 
the data contained in the materials. 

The most valuable S&T concerned the atomic program. 
Kurchatov reported to Beria on September 29, 1944 that 
intelligence revealed the creation for the MANHATTAN 
project of “a concentration of scientific and engineering- 
technical power on a scale never before seen in the history 

of world science, which has already achieved the most 
priceless results. According to NKGB calculations, up 
to November 1944 it had acquired 1,167 documents on 
nuclear research, of which 88 from the United States and 
79 from Britain were judged of particular importance. 
The most important, however, were yet to come. 

On February 28, 1945 the NKGB submitted to Beria its 
first comprehensive report on atomic intelligence for two 
years — also the first to be based on reports from inside 
Los Alamos. Five months before the successful test of the 
first atomic bomb at Alamogordo in southern New 
Mexico, the Centre was informed of all the main elements 
in its construction. The information which Fuchs had 
passed to Gold on the east coast in mid-February arrived 
too late to be included in the Centre’s assessment. The 
report passed to Beria was, almost certainly, based chiefly 
on intelligence from the nineteen-year-old Theodore Hall 
and technical sergeant David Greenglass. There can be 
little doubt that Hall’s intelligence, delivered to the New 
York residency by his friend, Saville Sax, was the more 
important. It was probably Hall who first revealed the 
implosion method of detonating the bomb, though a more 
detailed report on implosion by Fuchs reached Kurchatov 
on April 6.^^ 

In the spring of 1945 Sax was replaced as courier 
between Hall and the New York residency by Leontina 
(“Lona”) Cohen, codenamed LESLIE. “Lona” had been 

recruited in 1941 by her husband Morris (codenamed 
LUIS), who had become a Soviet agent during the 
Spanish Civil War while serving in the International 
Brigades. The couple, later to figure among the heroes of 
Soviet intelligence, were collectively codenamed the 
DACHNIKI (“Vacationers”), but their careers as agents 
were interrupted by Morris’s conscription in 1942. 
“Lona” was reactivated early in 1945 to act as a courier to 
both Los Alamos and the Anglo-Canadian atomic 
research center at Chalk River, near Ottawa, which was 
also penetrated by Soviet agents. While she made contact 
with Hall, Gold acted as courier for Fuchs and 
Greenglass. Each of the three Soviet agents was 
completely ignorant of the espionage conducted by the 
other two.^^ 

It is probable that both Fuchs and Hall independently 
furnished the plans of the first atomic bomb, each of 
which the Centre was able to crosscheck against the 
other. Fuchs and Hall also independently reported that 
the test of the first atomic bomb had been fixed for July 
10, 1945,^^ though in the end weather conditions caused it 
to be postponed for six days. A month later the Pacific 
War was at an end. Following the bombing of Hiroshima 
and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, Japan surrendered. 

Lona Cohen spent the final dramatic weeks of the 
Pacific War in New Mexico, waiting for Hall to deliver 
the results of the Alamogordo test. After missing 

rendezvous in Albuquerque on three consecutive 
Sundays, Hall finally handed a set of highly classified 
papers to his courier, probably soon after the Japanese 
surrender.^ ^ On catching the train back to New York, 
Lona Cohen was horrified to see military police on board 
searching passengers’ luggage. With remarkable presence 
of mind she thrust Hall’s documents inside a newspaper 
and gave it to a policeman to hold while she opened her 
purse and suitcase for inspection. The policeman handed 
the newspaper back, inspected her purse and suitcase, and 
Mrs. Cohen returned safely to New York.^^ 

Thanks chiefly to Hall and Fuchs, the first Soviet 
atomic bomb, successfully tested just over four years 
later, was to be an exact copy of the Alamogordo bomb. 
At the time, however, the Centre found it difficult to 
believe that the theft of two copies of perhaps the most 
important secret plans in American history could possibly 
escape detection. The sheer scale of its success made the 
NKGB fear that the penetration of the MANHATTAN 
project would soon be uncovered by the Americans. 

The NKGB officer in charge of intelligence collected 
from Los Alamos in 1945 was Anatoli Antonovich 
Yatskov (alias “Yakovlev,” codenamed ALEKSEI), an 
engineer recruited by the NKVD in 1939 who succeeded 
Kvasnikov as S&T resident in the United States. He is 
nowadays remembered as one of the heroes of Russian 
foreign intelligence.^^ At the time, however, the Centre 

was bitterly critical of him. In July 1945 it concluded that 
his carelessness had probably compromised MLAD, and 
denounced his “completely unsatisfactory work with the 
agents on ENORMOZ [the MANHATTAN project].”^^ 
At the very moment of Soviet intelligence’s greatest ever 
triumph in the United States, the acquisition of the plans 
of the first atomic bomb, the Centre wrongly feared that 
the whole ENORMOZ operation was in jeopardy. 

The GRU, as well as the NKGB, had some striking 
successes in the wartime United States. Though Soviet 
military intelligence had been forced to surrender both 
Fuchs and the majority of its more important pre-war 
American agents to the more powerful NKGB, it had 
succeeded in retaining at least one of whom the Centre 
was envious in 1945. Gorsky reported to the Centre a 
conversation between Akhmerov and ALES (Alger Hiss), 
who had been working for the GRU for the past ten 
years. Though Hiss was a senior diplomat, Akhmerov 
said that the GRU had generally appeared little interested 
in State Department documents, and had asked Hiss and a 
small group of agents, “for the most part consisting of his 
relations,” to concentrate on military intelligence.^^ Late 
in 1944, however. Hiss’s role as a Soviet agent took on a 
new significance when he became actively engaged in 
preparations for the final meeting of the wartime Big 
Three at Yalta in the Crimea in February 1945. 

Yalta was to prove an even bigger success for Soviet 

intelligence than Tehran. This time both the British and 
the American delegations, housed respectively in the 
ornate Vorontsov and Livadia Palaces, were successfully 
bugged. The mostly female personnel used to record and 
transcribe their private conversations were selected and 
transported to the Crimea in great secrecy. Not till they 
arrived at Yalta did they discover the jobs that had been 
assigned to them.^^ The NKGB sought, with some 
success, to distract both delegations from its surveillance 
of them by lavish and attentive hospitality, personally 
supervised by a massive NKGB general, Sergei 
Nikiforovich Kruglov. When Churchill’s daughter, Sarah, 
casually mentioned that lemon went well with caviar, a 
lemon tree appeared, as if by magic, in the Vorontsov 
orangery. At the next Allied conference, in Potsdam, 
General Kruglov was rewarded with a KBE, thus 
becoming the only Soviet intelligence officer to receive 
an honorary knighthood. 

Stalin was even better informed about his allies at Yalta 
than he had been at Tehran. All of the Cambridge Five, no 
longer suspected of being double agents, provided a 
regular flow of classified intelligence or Foreign Office 
documents in the runup to the conference, though it is not 
possible to identify which of these documents were 
communicated to Stalin personally. Alger Hiss actually 
succeeded in becoming a member of the American 
delegation. The problem which occupied most of the time 
at Yalta was the future of Poland. Having already 

conceded Soviet dominance of Poland at Tehran, 
Roosevelt and Churchill made a belated attempt to secure 
the restoration of Polish parliamentary democracy and a 
guarantee of free elections. Both were outnegotiated by 
Stalin, assisted once again by a detailed knowledge of the 
cards in their hands. He knew, for example, what 
importance his allies attached to allowing some 
“democratic” politicians into the puppet Polish 
provisional government already established by the 
Russians. On this point, after initial resistance, Stalin 
graciously conceded, knowing that the “democrats” could 
subsequently be excluded. After first playing for time, 
Stalin gave way on other secondary issues, having first 
underlined their importance, in order to preserve his 
allies’ consent to the reality of a Soviet-dominated 
Poland. Watching Stalin in action at Yalta, the permanent 
under- secretary at the Foreign Office, Sir Alexander 
Cadogan, thought him in a different league as a negotiator 
to Churchill and Roosevelt: “He is a great man, and 
shows up very impressively against the background of the 
other two aging statesmen.” Roosevelt, in rapidly failing 
health and with only two months to live, struck Cadogan, 
by contrast, as “very woolly and wobbly. 

Roosevelt and Churchill left Yalta with no sense that 
they had been deceived about Stalin’s true intentions. 
Even Churchill, hitherto more skeptical than Roosevelt, 
wrote confidently, “Poor Neville Chamberlain believed he 
could trust Hitler. He was wrong. But I don’t think I’m 

wrong about Stalin.”^^ Some sense of how Moscow felt 
that good intelligence had contributed to Stalin’s success 
at Yalta is conveyed by Moscow’s congratulations to 
Hiss. Gorsky reported to the Centre in March 1945, after a 
meeting between Akhmerov and Hiss: 

Recently ALES [Hiss] and his whole group were 
awarded Soviet decorations. After the Yalta 
conference, when he had gone on to Moscow, a 
Soviet personage in a very responsible position 
(ALES gave to understand that it was Comrade 
Vyshinsky [Deputy Foreign Minister]) allegedly got 
in touch with ALES and at the behest of the military 
NEIGHBOURS [GRU] passed on to him their 
gratitude and so on.^^ 

The NKGB’s regret at failing to wrest Hiss from the 
NEIGHBOURS must surely have intensified in April 
when he was appointed acting Secretary-General of the 
United Nations “organizing conference” at San 

BEHIND THE VICTORIOUS Red Army as it swept into 
central Europe during the final months of the war came 
detachments of Smersh (short for Smert Shpionam, 
“Death to Spies!”), a military counter-intelligence agency 
detached from the NKVD in 1943 and placed directly 
under the control of Stalin as Chairman of the State 

Defense Committee and Defense Commissar.^^ Smersh’s 
main mission was to hunt for traitors and Soviet citizens 
who had collaborated with the enemy. On Stalin’s 
instructions, it cast its net remarkably wide, screening 
well over five million people. The million or more Soviet 
POWs who had survived the horrors of German prison 
camps were treated as presumed deserters and transported 
to the gulag, where many died. 

In their anxiety to honor obligations to their ally, both 
the British and American governments collaborated in a 
sometimes barbarous repatriation. So far as Britain was 
concerned, the most controversial part of the forced 
repatriation was the hand-over of Cossacks and 
“dissident” Yugoslavs from south Austria to the Red 
Army and Tito’s forces respectively in May and June 
1945. Most had collaborated with the enemy, though 
sometimes only to a nominal degree. On June 1 battle- 
hardened soldiers of the 8th Argylls, some of them in 
tears, were ordered to break up a Cossack religious 
service and drive several thousands of unarmed men, 
women and children into cattle trucks with rifle butts and 
pick handles. There were similar horrors on succeeding 
days. Some of the Cossacks killed themselves and their 
families to save them from torture, execution or the gulag. 
Most of the 45,000 repatriated Cossacks were Soviet 
citizens, whom Churchill and Roosevelt had agreed at 
Yalta to return to the Soviet Union. But a minority, 
variously estimated at between 3,000 and 10,000 were so- 

called “old emigres” who had left Russia after the civil 
war, had never been citizens of the Soviet Union, and 
were not covered by the Yalta agreement. They too were 
repatriated against their will.^^ 

Among the “old emigres” were a group of White 
generals — chief among them Pyotr Krasnov, Andrei 
Shkuro and Sultan Kelech Ghirey^^ — whom the NKGB 
and its predecessors had been pursuing for a quarter of a 
century. A Smersh detachment was sent to Austria with 
orders to track them down. Its initial inquiries to the 
British about their whereabouts met with no response 
other than the claim that no information was available. 
After heavy drinking at a dinner for Anglo-Russian 
troops, however, a British soldier blurted out that, until 
recently, the generals had been at a camp in the village of 
Gleisdorf.^^ A group of Smersh officers drove 
immediately to Gleisdorf where they discovered that, 
though the generals had left, Shkuro ’s mistress Yelena 
(surname unknown) was still there. Yelena was lured out 
of the camp on the pretense that she had a visitor. As she 
approached the Smersh car, she suddenly saw the Russian 
officers inside and froze with fear. She was quickly 
bundled into the car and revealed, under no doubt brutal 
interrogation, that the White generals had appealed for the 
Supreme Allied Commander, Field Marshal Alexander, 
for protection. Yelena also disclosed that the generals had 
with them fourteen kilograms of gold.^^ What happened 

next is of such importance that Mitrokhin’s note on it 
deserves to be quoted as fully as possible: 

The Chekists [Smersh officers] raised the matter of 
the generals again at a meeting with ... [a British] 
lieutenant-colonel. They mentioned where the 
generals were. The Chekists proposed that they 
should approach the question of the generals’ fate in 
a business-like way. “What do you mean by that?” 
asked the Englishman. They explained to him. If the 
British would hand them over quietly at the same 
time as the Cossacks were repatriated, they could 
keep the generals’ gold. “If the old men remain with 
you, you and your colleagues will get no benefit at 
all. If you accept our alternative, you will get the 
gold.” The lieutenant-colonel thought a while and 
then agreed. He talked with two of his colleagues 
about the details of the operation. On the pretext that 
they were being taken to Alexander’s headquarters 
for talks, the generals were put into cars without any 
of their belongings and driven to Odenburg 
[Judenburg] where they were handed over to the 
Chekists. From the hands of Smersh they were 
transferred to Moscow, to the Calvary of the 

No corroboration is available from any other source for 
the claim in a KGB file that a British army officer (and 

perhaps two of his colleagues) had been bribed into 
handing over the White generals. Given the failure on the 
ground to distinguish the minority of non- Soviet Cossacks 
from the rest, they might well have been surrendered to 
Smersh in any case. The generals would probably have 
survived, however, if their petitions had reached Field 
Marshal Alexander, who might well have granted them. 
But the petitions mysteriously disappeared en route. 

The speed and injustice of the “repatriation” derived 
chiefly from the desire of military commanders on the 
spot to be rid of an unwelcome problem as soon as 
possible, combined with the belief that individual 
screening to determine which Cossacks were not of Soviet 
nationality would be a complex, long drawn out, and in 
some cases impossible task. On May 21 Brigadier Toby 
Low of 5 Corps, which was in charge of the 
“repatriation,” issued an order defining who were to be 
regarded as Soviet citizens. The one White Russian group 
which could be collectively identified as non- Soviet, the 
Schutzkorps, commanded by Colonel Anatol Rogozhin, 
was, he instructed, not to be repatriated. But those to be 
“treated as Soviet Nationals” included the “Ataman 
Group” (of which General Krasnov was a leading 
member) and the “Units of Lt.-Gen. Shkuro.” Low added 
that “[ijndividual cases [appeals] will NOT be considered 
unless particularly pressed,” and that “[i]n all cases of 
doubt, the individual will be treated as a Soviet 

When all allowance is made for the difficulties of 
combining loyalty to allies with respect for the human 
rights of the Cossacks, the brutality with which the 
repatriation was conducted remains perhaps the most 
ignominious episode in twentieth-century British military 
history. “I reproach myself for just one thing,” the 76- 
year-old White general Krasnov later told the NKGB. 
“Why did I trust the British?” On May 27, just before 3 
A.M., a time of day much favored by Soviet Security, 
General Shkuro was awakened by an unidentified British 
officer, who told him he was under arrest and took him to 
be held under close guard well away from the Cossack 
camp. Another, or perhaps the same, British officer later 
delivered an “urgent,” though bogus, invitation to General 
Krasnov to a conference with Field Marshal Alexander, 
his former comrade-in-arms during the Russian civil war. 
Smersh photographers were waiting to record the historic 
moment when the NKGB’s oldest enemies were turned 
over to it.^^ For the British army it was a shameful 
moment. For Stalin, Smersh and the NKGB, it was a 
famous victory. 



At the end of the Second World War, the Centre faced 
what it feared was impending disaster in intelligence 
operations against its wartime allies. The first major alarm 
occurred in Ottawa, where relations among NKGB and 
GRU personnel working under “legal” cover in the Soviet 
embassy were as fraught as in New York. The situation 
was worst in the GRU residency.^ On the evening of 
September 5, 1945 Igor Gouzenko, a GRU cipher clerk at 
the Soviet embassy in Ottawa, secretly stuffed more than 
a hundred classified documents under his shirt and 
attempted to defect. He tried hard to hold his stomach in 
as he walked out of the embassy. “Otherwise,” his wife 
said later, “he would have looked pregnant.” 

Defection turned out to be more difficult than 
Gouzenko had imagined. When he sought help at the 
offices of the Ministry of Justice and the Ottawa Journal, 
he was told to come back the next day. But on September 
6 both the Ministry of Justice and the Ottawa Journal, 
which failed to realize it was being offered the spy story 
of the decade, showed no more interest than on the 

previous evening. By the night of September 6 the Soviet 
embassy realized that both Gouzenko and classified 
documents were missing. While Gouzenko hid with his 
wife and child in a neighbor’s flat, NKGB men broke 
down his door and searched his apartment. It was almost 
midnight before the local police came to his rescue and 
the Gouzenko family at last found sanctuary.^ 

As well as identifying a major GRU spy ring, 
Gouzenko also provided fragmentary intelligence on 
NKGB operations. Some months later Lavrenti Beria, the 
Soviet security supremo, circulated to residencies a 
stinging indictment of the incompetence of the GRU and, 
he implied, the NKGB in Ottawa: 

The most elementary principles of security were 
ignored, complacency and self-satisfaction went 
unchecked. All this was the result of a decline in 
political vigilance and sense of responsibility for 
work entrusted by the Party and the government. 
G[ouzenko]’s defection has caused great damage to 
our country and has, in particular, very greatly 
complicated our work in the American countries.^ 

The fear of being accused of further breaches of security 
made the Ottawa residency unwilling to take any initiative 
in recruiting new agents. According to a later damage 
assessment, Gouzenko’s defection “paralyzed intelligence 
work [in Canada] for several years and continued to have 

a most negative effect on the work of the residency right 
up to 1960.” In the summer of 1949 the acting resident in 
Ottawa, Vladimir Trofimovich Burdin (also known as 
Borodin), newly arrived from Moscow, wrote to the 
Centre to complain about his colleagues’ inertia: 

The residency not merely lost all its previous 
contacts in Canadian circles but did not even try to 
acquire new ones ... The Soviet colony closed in on 
itself and shut itself off from the outside world, 
becoming wholly preoccupied with its own internal 

The Centre agreed. The residency, it concluded, had “got 
stuck in a rut.”^ 

For the rest of Gouzenko’s life the KGB tried 
intermittently and unsuccessfully to track him down. In 
1975, after a Progressive Conservative MP, Thomas 
Cossit, requested a review of Gouzenko’s pension, the 
Ottawa residency deduced that Gouzenko lived in his 
constituency. The residency also reported that Cossit and 
Gouzenko had been seen together at an ice hockey match 
during a visit to Canada by the Soviet national team. A 
KGB officer stationed in Ottawa, Mikhail Nikolayevich 
Khvatov, sought to cultivate Cossit in the hope of 
discovering Gouzenko’s whereabouts. He had no success 
and the residency subsequently reported that 
parliamentary questions by Cossit were “clearly anti- 

Soviet in tone.” Some years later the KGB began to 
search for compromising material on Cossit’s private life 
and prepare active measures to discredit him. He died in 
1982 before the campaign against him had begun. ^ 

Gouzenko’s defection in September 1945 also caused 
alarm at NKGB residencies in Britain and the United 
States. As head of SIS Section IX (Soviet Counter- 
intelligence) Philby was kept well informed of the 
debriefing of Gouzenko and reported “an intensification 
of counter-measures” against Soviet espionage in London. 
The Centre responded with instructions for tight security 
procedures to ensure that “the valuable agent network is 
protected from compromise.” Boris Krotenschield (aka 
“Krotov”), the controller of the residency’s most 
important agents, was told to hand over all but Philby to 
other case officers and to reduce the frequency of 
meetings to once a month: “Warn all our comrades to 
make a thorough check when going out to a meeting and, 
if surveillance is observed, not to attempt under any 
circumstances to evade the surveillance and meet the 
agent ...” If necessary, contact with British agents was to 
be temporarily broken off.^ 

Even greater alarm was caused by the attempted 
defection of an NKGB officer in Turkey, Konstantin 
Dmitry evich Volkov. On August 27, 1945 Volkov wrote 
to the British vice-consul in Istanbul, C. H. Page, 
requesting an urgent appointment. When Page failed to 
reply, Volkov turned up in person on September 4 and 

asked for political asylum for himself and his wife. In 
return for asylum and the sum of 50,000 pounds (about a 
million pounds at today’s values), he offered important 
files and information obtained while working on the 
British desk in the Centre. Among the most highly rated 
Soviet agents, he revealed, were two in the Foreign Office 
(doubtless Burgess and Maclean) and seven “inside the 
British intelligence system,” including one “fulfilling the 
function of head of a section of British counter-espionage 
in London” (almost certainly Philby).^ 

On September 19 Philby was startled to receive a report 
of Volkov’s meeting with Page by diplomatic bag from 
the Istanbul consulate.^ He quickly warned Krotenschield. 
^ On September 21 the Turkish consulate in Moscow 
issued visas for two NKGB hatchet men posing as 
diplomatic couriers. The next day Philby succeeded in 
gaining authorization from the chief of SIS, Sir Stewart 
Menzies, to fly to Turkey to deal personally with the 
Volkov case. Due to various travel delays he did not 
arrive in Istanbul until September 26. Two days earlier 
Volkov and his wife, both on stretchers and heavily 
sedated, had been carried on board a Soviet aircraft bound 
for Moscow. During the flight back to London Philby 
drafted a cynical report to Menzies on the possible 
reasons for Volkov’s detection by the NKGB. As he 
wrote later. 

Doubtless both his office and his living quarters were 
bugged. Both he and his wife were reported to be 
nervous. Perhaps his manner had given him away; 
perhaps he had got drunk and talked too much; 
perhaps even he had changed his mind and confessed 
to his colleagues. Of course, I admitted, this was all 
speculation; the truth might never be known. 

Another theory — that the Russians had been tipped 
off about Volkov’s approach to the British — had no 
solid evidence to support it. It was not worth 
including in my report. ^ ^ 

Under interrogation in Moscow before his execution, 
Volkov admitted that he had asked the British for political 
asylum and 50,000 pounds, and confessed that he had 
planned to reveal the names of no fewer than 314 Soviet 
agents. Philby had had the narrowest of escapes. With 
slightly less luck in Ottawa a few weeks earlier, 
Gouzenko would not have been able to defect. With 
slightly more luck in Istanbul, Volkov would have 
succeeded in unmasking Philby and disrupting the MGB’s 
British operations. 

The Gouzenko and Volkov alarms occurred at a 
remarkably busy period for the London residency, headed 
until 1947 by Konstantin Kukin (codenamed IGOR). 
From September 11 to October 2, 1945 the Council of 
Foreign Ministers of the five permanent members of the 
UN Security Council (the United States, Soviet Union, 

Britain, France and China) held its first meeting in 
London to discuss peace treaties with defeated enemy 
states and other post-war problems. The residency’s 
penetration of the Foreign Office gave it an unusually 
important role. Throughout the meeting, according to 
KGB files, the Soviet ambassador, Ivan Maisky, placed 
greater reliance on residency staff than on his own 
diplomats, forcing them to extend each working day into 
the early hours of the following morning. The Security 
Council meeting, however, was a failure, publicly 
exposing for the first time the deep East- West divisions 
which by 1947 were to engender the Cold War. 

At this and subsequent meetings of the Security 
Council, Stalin’s foreign minister, Vyacheslav 
Mikhailovich Molotov, depended heavily on the 
intelligence supplied by the MGB’s Western agents. 
Indeed, he tended to take it for granted. “Why,” he roared 
on one occasion, “are there no documents?” At the 
London conference which opened in November 1947, he 
appears to have received some Foreign Office documents 
even before they reached the British delegation. 

The MGB’s most important sources during the 
meetings of the Council of Foreign Ministers from 1945 
to 1949 were British. Thanks to the kidnapping of 
Volkov, four of the wartime Magnificent Five were able 
to carry on work as full-time Soviet agents after the war. 
The exception was Anthony Blunt, who was under such 
visible strain that the Centre did not object to his decision 

to leave MI5. Shortly before he returned to the art world 
in November 1945 as Surveyor of the King’s Pictures, 
Blunt made one extraordinary outburst which at the time 
was not taken seriously. “Well,” he told his MI5 
colleague Colonel “Tar” Robertson, “it’s given me great 
pleasure to pass on the names of every MI5 officer to the 
Russians!” The Centre may well have hoped that Leo 
Long (codenamed ELLI), whom Blunt had run as a sub- 
agent in military intelligence during the war, would 
succeed him in the Security Service. Blunt recommended 
Long for a senior post in MI5 but the selection board 
passed him over, allegedly by a narrow margin, in favor 
of another candidate. Long moved instead to the British 
Control Commission in Germany, where he eventually 
became Deputy Director of Intelligence. There he resisted 
attempts to put him in regular contact with a case officer 
— a recalcitrance which the Centre attributed in part to the 
fact that Blunt had ceased to be his controller. Among the 
occasional services which Blunt continued to perform for 
the Centre were two or three visits to Germany to seek 
intelligence from Long.^^ 

Unlike Blunt, three of the Magnificent Five — Philby, 
Burgess and Maclean — were all at their peak as Soviet 
agents, and Caimcross still close to his, when the Cold 
War began. Philby remained head of SIS Section IX until 
1947, when he was appointed head of station in Turkey, a 
position which enabled him to betray agents who crossed 
the Russian border as well as their families and contacts 

inside the Soviet Union. Maclean established a reputation 
as a high-flying young diplomat in the Washington 
embassy, where he remained until 1947. In 1946 Burgess, 
who had joined the Foreign Office in 1944, became 
personal assistant to Hector McNeil, Minister of State to 
Ernest Bevin in the post-war Labor government. After 
the war John Caimcross returned to the Treasury, where 
the London residency renewed contact with him in 
1948.^^ Caimcross ’s main job at the Treasury over the 
next few years was to authorize expenditure on defense 
research. According to his Treasury colleague G. A. 

[Caimcross] thus knew not just about atomic 
weapons developments but also plans for guided 
missiles, microbiological, chemical, underwater and 
all other types of weapons. He also needed to know, 
inter alia, about projected spending on aeronautical 
and radar research and anti-submarine detection, 
research by the Post Office and other bodies into 
signals intelligence, eavesdropping techniques, etc. 
He ... could legitimately ask for any further details 
thought necessary to give Treasury approval to the 
spending of money. 

Caimcross ’s controller, Yuri Modin, was, unsurprisingly, 
“overjoyed by the quality of [his] information.”^^ 

The new security procedures introduced in the wake of 

the Gouzenko and Volkov alarms made controlling the 
London residency’s agents far more laborious and 
timeconsuming than during or before the war. On 
average, before every meeting with an agent, each case 
officer spent five hours moving on foot or by public 
transport (especially the London Underground) between 
locations he had studied previously in order to engage in 
repeated checks that he was not under surveillance. Once 
at the meeting place, both the case officer and the agent 
were required to establish visual contact and to satisfy 
themselves that the other was not being watched before 
they approached each other. If either had any doubts, they 
would fall back on one of three previously agreed 
alternative rendezvous. The system pioneered in London 
was later introduced into other residencies.^^ 

The London residency also pioneered the use of radio 
intercept units to identify and monitor surveillance of its 
operations by the police and MI5. In addition to the main 
interception unit in the residency, mobile units were 
established in embassy cars to check the areas in which 
meetings took place with agents.^ ^ However, the Centre’s 
experiment with the eight-man surveillance team sent to 
London during the Second World War to carry out checks 
on agents and visitors to the Soviet embassy, as well as to 
discover the surveillance methods used by British 
intelligence, was discontinued. A report in KGB archives 
records that, handicapped by its lack of fluency in 

English, the team had “no major successes. The 
experiment was probably a total failure. 

The London residency’s attempts to enforce the 
strictest standards of secrecy and security had only a 
limited effect on Guy Burgess. On one occasion, while 
coming out of a pub where he had established visual 
contact with his case officer, he dropped his briefcase and 
scattered secret Foreign Office papers over the floor. 
There were frequent complaints that he turned up for 
meetings the worse for drink and with his clothing in 
disarray. When George Carey-Foster, head of the 
embryonic security branch in the Foreign Office, first 
encountered Burgess in 1947, he was struck by his 
“disheveled and unshaven appearance. He also smelt so 
strongly of drink that I enquired who he was and what his 
job was.” Yet Burgess could still display fragments of the 
charm and brilliance of his Cambridge years. Late in 
1947, probably to get rid of him. Hector McNeil 
recommended Burgess to the parliamentary under- 
secretary at the Foreign Office, Christopher Mayhew, 
who was then organizing the Information Research 
Department (IRD) to counter Soviet “psychological 
warfare.” Mayhew made what he later described as “an 
extraordinary mistake:” “I interviewed Burgess. He 
certainly showed a dazzling insight into Communist 
methods of subversion and I readily took him on.” 
Burgess went the rounds of British embassies selling 
IRD’s wares while simultaneously compromising the new 

department by reporting all its plans to Yuri Ivanovich 
Modin, who became his case officer in 1947 and acquired 
a reputation as one of the ablest agent controllers in 
Soviet intelligence. The chorus of protests at Burgess’s 
undiplomatic behavior led to his removal from the IRD 
and transfer to the Foreign Office Far Eastern Department 
in the autumn of 1948.^^ Though it disturbed the Centre, 
Burgess’s frequently outrageous conduct paradoxically 
strengthened his cover. Even to most of those whom he 
outraged he seemed as unlike a Soviet spy as it was 
possible to imagine. 

Modin was also concerned about Nikolai Borisovich 
Rodin (alias “Korovin”), who succeeded Kukin as 
London resident in 1947. Rodin considered himself above 
the tight security regulations on which he insisted for the 
other members of the residency. According to Modin, 
who loathed him personally, Rodin was “known to go to 
clandestine meetings in one of the embassy cars, and 
sometimes was foolhardy enough to place direct calls to 
agents in their offices.” But, in the rigidly hierarchical 
world of Soviet intelligence, Modin felt that “there was 
nothing I could do about it. It was hardly my place to 
denounce my superior in the service.” As head of Faculty 
Number One (Political Intelligence) in the FCD 
Andropov Institute in the early 1980s, Modin was less 
inhibited. He dismissed Rodin as an arrogant, pretentious 

THOUGH THE MGB’S most important British agents 
were still undetected at the end of the 1940s, many of 
their American counterparts had been compromised. The 
Centre had complained as early as March 1945 that the 
membership of the Silvermaster spy ring was an open 
secret among “many” Washington Communists and that 
Harry Dexter White’s Soviet “connection” had also 
become known. It denounced “not only the falling off in 
the [New York] Residency’s work of controlling and 
educating probationers [agents], but also the lack of 
understanding by our operational workers of the most 
elementary rules in our work.”^^ 

The defections later in 1945 of Igor Gouzenko and 
Elizabeth Bentley confirmed the Centre’s worst fears. In 
September J. Edgar Hoover reported to the White House 
and the State Department that Gouzenko had provided 
information on the activities of a number of Soviet spies 
in the United States, one of whom was “an assistant to the 
Secretary of State” (almost certainly Alger Hiss). On 
November 7 Bentley, who had first contacted the FBI six 
weeks earlier, began revealing what she knew of Soviet 
espionage to its New York field office. Next day Hoover 
sent President Truman’s military aide a first list of 
fourteen of those identified by Bentley as supplying 
information to “the Soviet espionage system:” among 
them Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Harry Dexter 
White, OSS executive assistant Duncan C. Lee and 
Roosevelt’s former aide Lauchlin Currie.^^ Bentley’s 

defection, in turn, revived FBI interest in Whittaker 
Chambers’ earlier evidence of pre-war Soviet espionage 
by Hiss, White and others. 

On November 20 Gorsky, the Washington resident 
whom Bentley knew as “Al,” met her for the last time in 
front of Bickford’s cafeteria on 23rd Street and Sixth 
Avenue in New York. Unaware that they were under 
surveillance by the FBI, Gorsky arranged their next 
meeting for January 20. According to Bentley, he told her 
that she might soon be needed “back in undercover 
work.” By the time the date for their next rendezvous had 
arrived, however, Gorsky was back in Moscow.^^ His 
hasty departure was probably due to the discovery of 
Bentley’s defection.^^ A few months later the resident in 
New York, Roland Abbiate (alias “Pravdin”), whose wife 
was known to Bentley, was also withdrawn.^ ^ A damage 
assessment in the Centre concluded that Bentley did not 
know the real name, address or telephone number of her 
previous controller, Iskhak Akhmerov, the illegal resident 
in the United States. As a precaution, however, he and his 
wife were recalled to Moscow.^^ 

The almost simultaneous recall of Gorsky, Abbiate and 
Akhmerov left the MGB without experienced leadership 
in the United States. There were few senior officers at the 
Centre with first-hand knowledge of North America 
capable of succeeding them. In any case, as Yuri Modin 
later acknowledged, “We were leery of sending people 

out of the Soviet Union for fear of defections. Most of our 
officers worked in Moscow, with the result that the few 
men posted in foreign countries had a workload so 
crushing that many of them cracked under the pressure. 
Akhmerov was not replaced as illegal resident until 

1948. ^^ Gorsky’s two successors as chief legal resident in 
the United States both became bywords for incompetence 
in the Centre. Grigori Grigory evich Dolbin, who arrived 
to replace Gorsky in 1946, had to be replaced in 1948 
after showing signs of insanity (due, it was rumored in 
Moscow, to the onset of hereditary syphilis). His 
successor, Georgi Aleksandrovich Sokolov, was 
reprimanded by the Centre before being recalled in 

1949 . ^^ 

The most effective damage limitation measure taken by 
the MGB after Bentley’s defection was to break off 
contact with most of the wartime American agents whose 
identities were known to her. As a result, Bentley’s many 
leads resulted in not a single prosecution. The FBI began 
its investigations too late to catch any of the spies named 
by Bentley in the act of passing on classified information, 
and it was unable to use evidence from wiretaps in court. 
The Centre, however, failed to grasp the extent of the 
legal obstacles which confronted the FBI and continued to 
fear for several years that it would succeed in mounting a 
major spy trial. 

The Centre’s fears were strengthened by a major 

American codebreaking success, later codenamed 
VENONA. For its high-grade diplomatic and intelligence 
communications the Soviet Union had used since 1927 a 
virtually unbreakable cipher system known in the West as 
the “one-time pad.”^^ During and immediately after the 
Second World War, however, some of the one-time pads 
were reissued, thus becoming vulnerable — though it took 
several years for American and British codebreakers to 
exploit the difficult opportunity offered to them by Soviet 
cryptographic carelessness. Late in 1946 Meredith 
Gardner, a brilliant cryptanalyst in the US Army Security 
[SIGINT] Agency, began decrypting some of the wartime 
messages exchanged between the Centre and its American 
residencies. By the summer of 1947 he had accumulated 
evidence from the decrypts of massive Soviet espionage 
in the wartime United States. In 1948 ASA called in the 
FBI. From October special agent Robert Lamphere began 
full-time work on VENONA, seeking to identify the 
agents (some still active) whose codenames appeared in 
the VENONA decrypts. Remarkably, however, the 
Central Intelligence Agency was not informed of 
VENONA until late in 1952.^^ Even more remarkably. 
President Truman appears not to have been told of the 
decrypts, perhaps for fear that he might mention them to 
the Director of Central Intelligence, head of the CIA, at 
one of his weekly meetings with him. VENONA showed 
in graphic detail how OSS, the CIA’s wartime 

predecessor, had been heavily penetrated by Soviet 
agents. Both Hoover and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs 
of Staff, General Omar N. Bradley, seem to have 
suspected — wrongly — that the same was true of the 

The Centre learned the VENONA secret in 1947 — five 
years earlier than the CIA — from an agent in ASA, 
William Weisband (codenamed ZHORA).^^ The son of 
Russian immigrants to the United States, Weisband was 
employed as a Russian linguist and roamed around ASA 
on the pretext of looking for projects where his linguistic 
skills could be of assistance. Meredith Gardner recalls 
Weisband looking over his shoulder at a critical moment 
in the project late in 1946, just as he was producing one of 
the first important decrypts — an NKGB telegram of 
December 2, 1944 which revealed Soviet penetration of 
Los Alamos.^^ 

For the Centre, VENONA represented a series of 
unpredictable timebombs which threatened to explode 
over the next few years. It had no means of knowing 
precisely what NKGB telegrams would be decrypted in 
whole or part, or which Soviet agents would be 
compromised by them. Moscow’s anxieties were 
heightened by the public controversy which broke out in 
the United States in the summer of 1948 over Soviet 
espionage. In July 1948 Elizabeth Bentley gave evidence 
in public for the first time to the House Committee on Un- 

American Activities and achieved instant media celebrity 
as the “Red Spy Queen.” In evidence to the committee in 
early August, Whittaker Chambers identified Hiss, White 
and others as members of a secret pre-war Communist 
underground. The Centre wrongly feared that the 
committee hearings would be the prelude to a series of 
show trials which would expose its wartime espionage 

DURING THE LATE 1940s Soviet foreign intelligence 
operations were further confused by a major 
reorganization in Moscow, prompted by the American 
National Security Act of July 1947 which established a 
Central Intelligence Agency “for the purpose of 
coordinating the intelligence activities of the several 
government departments and agencies in the interest of 
national security.” Though that coordination was never 
fiilly achieved, Molotov argued that the unified foreign 
intelligence apparatus envisaged by the National Security 
Act would give the United States a clear advantage over 
the fragmented Soviet system. The solution, he argued, 
was to combine the foreign intelligence directorates of 
both the MGB and the GRU under a single roof. 
Molotov’s proposal had the further advantage, from 
Stalin’s viewpoint, of weakening the power of Beria, 
whose protege, Viktor Semyonovich Abakumov, headed 
the MGB.^^ In October 1947 the foreign intelligence 
directorates of the MGB and GRU were combined to 

form a new unified foreign intelligence agency, the 
Committee of Information (Komitet Informatsii or 
Under the new, highly centralized system, even the 
operational plans for arranging meetings with, and 
investigating the reliability of, important agents required 
the prior approval of the KI.^^ 

The appointment of Molotov as first chairman of the 
Committee of Information gave the Foreign Ministry 
greater influence on foreign intelligence operations than 
ever before. The first deputy chairman, responsible to 
Molotov for day-to-day operations, was the relatively 
pliant Pyotr Vasilyevich Fedotov, who had become the 
MGB foreign intelligence chief in the previous year.^^ 
Like most of the Centre management, Fedotov had almost 
no experience of the West. Roland Abbiate, the former 
resident in New York and probably the senior intelligence 
officer best acquainted with the West, was sacked on the 
formation of the KI. His file records that he was given no 
explanation for his dismissal and that “it was a terrible 
blow for him.” Though the reason for the sacking is not 
recorded, it may well have been related to his foreign 
Jewish ancestry, which is duly noted in his file. Abbiate 
was briefly reinstated after Stalin’s death, then sacked 
again and later committed suicide. 

Molotov sought to strengthen Foreign Ministry control 
of KI operations by appointing Soviet ambassadors in 
major capitals as “chief legal residents” with authority 

over both civilian (ex-MGB) and military (ex-GRU) 
residents. In the jaundiced view of the later KGB defector 
Ilya Dzhirkvelov: 

This resulted in incredible confusion. The residents, 
the professional intelligence officers, resorted to 
incredible subterfuges to avoid informing their 
ambassadors about their work, since the diplomats 
had only amateurish knowledge of intelligence work 
and its methods ...^^ 

Some diplomats, however, became directly involved in 
intelligence operations. After the troubles in the 
Washington residency which led to the recall of two 
successive residents in 1948-9, the Soviet ambassador, 
Aleksandr Semyonovich Panyushkin, took personal 
charge for a year. He acquired such a taste for intelligence 
that he later became head of the KGB First (foreign 
intelligence) Chief Directorate.^^ 

In 1949 Molotov, now out of favor with Stalin, was 
succeeded as both Foreign Minister and chairman of the 
KI by his former deputy, Andrei Vyshinsky, who had 
made his reputation as the brutal prosecutor in the prewar 
show trials. Vyshinsky retained a sycophantic devotion to 
Beria which showed itself even on the telephone. 
According to one of his successors, Andrei Gromyko, “As 
soon as he heard Beria’ s voice Vyshinsky leapt 
respectfully out of his chair. The conversation itself also 

presented an unusual picture: Vyshinsky cringed like a 
servant before his master. Unlike Molotov, Vyshinsky 
had little interest in KI affairs, handing over the 
chairmanship after a few months to Deputy Foreign 
Minister Valerian Zorin. Fedotov was succeeded as first 
deputy chairman in charge of day-to-day operations by 
the more brutal and decisive Sergei Romanovich 
Savchenko, like Vyshinsky a protege of Beria. Savchenko 
seems to have answered to Beria rather than the Foreign 

By the time Vyshinsky succeeded Molotov, much of 
the Committee of Information had unraveled. In the 
summer of 1948, after a prolonged dispute with Molotov, 
Marshal Nikolai Aleksandrovich Bulganin, Minister for 
the Armed Forces, began withdrawing military 
intelligence personnel from KI control and returning them 
to the GRU. Probably with the support of Beria, 
Abakumov then embarked on a long drawn out struggle to 
recover control of the remnants of the KI. At the end of 
1948 all residency officers in the EM (Russian emigre) 
and SK (Soviet colonies abroad) Lines returned to the 
MGB. The KI was finally wound up and the rest of its 
foreign intelligence responsibilities returned to the MGB 
late in 1951.^^ 

THE MAIN LEGACY of the KI period to the subsequent 
development of Soviet intelligence was a renewed 

emphasis on illegals who, it was believed, would 
eventually establish a more secure and better-concealed 
foundation for foreign intelligence operations than the 
legal residencies, particularly in the United States. The 
Fourth (Illegals) Directorate of the KI, formed by 
combining the illegals sections of the MGB and the GRU, 
had a total staff of eighty-seven, headed by Aleksandr 
Mikhailovich Korotkov, who had made his reputation 
during pre-war missions to assassinate “enemies of the 
people” on foreign soil. In 1949, by which time military 
personnel in the directorate had returned to the GRU, 
forty-nine illegals were in training. Korotkov set up 
departments specializing in the selection of illegals, their 
training and the fabrication of documentation to support 
their legends. By 1952 the documentation department had 
forged or doctored 364 foreign identity documents, 
including seventy-eight passports. Illegal support (Line 
N) officers were sent by the Centre to all major legal 

The first priority of the Fourth Directorate was the 
creation of a new illegal residency in New York to rebuild 
its American intelligence operations. The man selected as 
illegal resident, the first since Akhmerov’s departure from 
the United States at the beginning of 1946, was Vilyam 
(“Willie”) Genrikhovich Fisher, codenamed MARK, 
probably the only English-bom Soviet intelligence 
officer. Fisher’s parents were Russian revolutionaries of 

the Tsarist era who had emigrated in 1901 to 
Newcastleon-Tyne, where Vilyam had been bom in 
1903.^^ In 1921 the family returned to Moscow, where 
Fisher became a Comintern translator. During military 
service in 1925-6, he was trained as a radio operator and, 
after a brief period in the Fourth Department (Military 
Intelligence), was recmited by INO (OGPU foreign 
intelligence) in 1927. He served as a radio operator in 
residencies in Norway, Turkey, Britain and France until 
1936, when he was appointed head of a training school 
for radio operators in illegal residencies.^^ 

Fisher was fortunate not to be shot during the Great 
Terror. His file records that, as well as being 
automatically suspect because of his English background, 
he had been “referred to in positive terms” by a series of 
“enemies of the people,” and his wife’s brother was 
accused of being a Trotskyite. Though dismissed by the 
NKVD at the end of 1938, he survived to be reemployed 
during the Great Patriotic War in a unit training radio 
operators for guerrilla and intelligence operations behind 
German lines. 

Fisher’s training as an illegal began in 1946 under the 
personal supervision of Korotkov, the head of the MGB 
Illegals Department. His legend was unusually 
complicated. Fisher assumed one identity during his 
journey to the United States in 1948 and another shortly 
after his arrival. The first identity was that of Andrei 

Yurgesovich Kayotis, a Lithuanian bom in 1895 who had 
emigrated to the United States and become an American 
citizen. In November 1947 Kayotis crossed the Atlantic to 
visit relatives in Europe. While he was in Denmark, the 
Soviet embassy issued a travel document enabling him to 
visit Russia and retained his passport for use by Fisher. In 
October 1948 Fisher traveled to Warsaw on a Soviet 
passport, then traveled on Kayotis ’s passport via 
Czechoslovakia and Switzerland to Paris, where he 
purchased a transatlantic ticket on the SS Scythia. On 
November 6 he set sail from Le Havre to Quebec, traveled 
on to Montreal and — still using Kayotis ’s passport — 
crossed into the United States on November 17.^^ 

On November 26 Fisher had a secret meeting in New 
York with the celebrated Soviet illegal I. R. Grigulevich 
(codenamed MAKS), who had taken part in the first 
attempt to assassinate Trotsky in Mexico City and had led 
a Latin American sabotage group during the war attacking 
ships and cargoes bound for Germany. Grigulevich gave 
Fisher 1,000 dollars and three documents in the name of 
Emil Robert Goldfus: a genuine birth certificate, a draft 
card forged by the Centre and a tax certificate (also 
forged). Fisher handed back Kayotis ’s documents and 
became Goldfus. The real Goldfus, bom in New York on 
August 2, 1902, had died at the age of only fourteen 
months. Fisher’s file records that his birth certificate had 
been obtained by the NKVD in Spain at the end of the 
Spanish Civil War, at a time when it was collecting 

identity documents from members of the International 
Brigades for use in illegal operations, but gives no other 
details of its provenance. According to the legend 
constructed by the Centre, Goldfus was the son of a 
German house painter in New York, had spent his 
childhood at 120 East 87th Street, left school in 1916 and 
worked in Detroit until 1926. After further periods in 
Grand Rapids, Detroit and Chicago, the legendary 
Goldfus had returned to New York in 1947. The legend, 
however, was far from perfect. The Centre instructed 
Fisher not to seek employment for fear that his employer 
would make inquiries which would blow his cover. 
Instead, he was told to open an artist’s studio and claim to 
be self-employed.^^ As Fisher mingled with other New 
York artists, his technique gradually improved and he 
became a competent, if rather conventional, painter. He 
surprised friends in the artistic community with his 
admiration for the late nineteenth-century Russian painter 
Fevitan, of whom they had never heard, but made no 
mention of Stalinist “socialist realism,” with which he 
was probably also in sympathy. Fisher made no secret of 
his dislike for abstract painting. “You know,” he told 
another artist, “I think most contemporary art is headed 
down a blind alley. 

In 1949, as the basis of his illegal residency, Fisher was 
given control of a group of agents headed by Morris 
Cohen (codenamed FUIS and VOFUNTEER), which 

included his wife Lona (LESLE).^^ Following Elizabeth 
Bentley’s defection, the Centre had temporarily broken 
contact with the Cohens early in 1946, but renewed 
contact with them in Paris a year later and reactivated 
them in the United States in 1948.^^ The most important 
agent in the VOLUNTEER network was the physicist Ted 
Hall (MEAD), for whom Lona Cohen had acted as courier 
in 1945 when he was passing atomic intelligence from 
Los Alamos. Early in 1948, Hall, then working for his 
PhD at Chicago University, had joined the Communist 
Party together with his wife Joan, apparently with the 
intention of abandoning work as a Soviet agent and 
working for the campaign of the Progressive candidate, 
the naively pro- Soviet Henry Wallace, in the presidential 
election. Morris Cohen, however, persuaded Hall to 
return to espionage. On August 2, 1948 the Washington 
residency telegraphed the Centre: 

LUIS has met MEAD. He has persuaded him to 
break contact with the Progressive organization and 
concentrate on science. Important information 
obtained on MLAD’s two new contacts. They have 
declared their wish to transmit data on ENORMOZ 
[the nuclear program], subject to two conditions: 
MEAD must be their only contact and their names 
must not be known to officers of ARTEMIS [Soviet 

The VOLUNTEER network expanded to include, in 
addition to MEAD, three other agents: ADEN, SERB and 
SILVER. Two of these were undoubtedly the two 
nuclear physicists contacted by Hall. Though their 
identities remain unknown, the Centre clearly regarded 
their intelligence as of the first importance. According to 
an SVR history, “the Volunteer group ... were able to 
guarantee the transmittal to the Centre of supersecret 
information concerning the development of the American 
atomic bomb.”^^ 

In recognition of the VOLUNTEER group’s success, 
Fisher was awarded the Order of Red Banner in August 
1949 69 ^ however, his illegal residency was 

disrupted by the arrest of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, for 
whom Lona Cohen had acted as courier. Both the Cohens 
were quickly withdrawn to Mexico, where they were 
sheltered for several months by the Soviet agents OREL 
(“Eagle”) and FISH — ^both members of the Spanish 
Communist Party in exile^^ — ^before moving on to 
Moscow. The Cohens were to resurface a few years later, 
under the names Peter and Helen Kroger, as members of a 
new illegal residency in Britain. Hall’s career as a 
Soviet spy was also interrupted. In March 1951 he was 
questioned by an FBI team which was convinced that he 
was guilty of espionage but lacked the evidence for a 

Under his later alias “Rudolf Abel,” Fisher was to 
become one of the best-known of all Soviet illegals, 
whose career was publicized by the KGB as a prime 
example of the success and sophistication of its operations 
in the West during the Cold War. In reality, Fisher never 
came close to rivaling the achievements of his wartime 
predecessor, Iskhak Akhmerov. During eight years as 
illegal resident, he appears never to have identified, let 
alone recruited, a single promising potential agent to 
replace the VOLUNTEER network. Unlike Akhmerov, 
however, he did not have the active and enthusiastic 
assistance of a well-organized American Communist 
Party (CPUS A) to act as talent-spotters and assistants. 
Part of the reason for Fisher’s lack of success was the 
post-war decline and persecution of the CPUSA.^^ 

THE MOST IMPORTANT American agent recruited 
during the early Cold War, Aleksandr (“Sasha”) 
Grigoryevich Kopatzky, was a walk-in. Kopatzky had 
been bom in the city of Surozh in Bryansk Oblast in 
1923,^^ and had served as a lieutenant in Soviet 
intelligence from August 1941 until he was wounded and 
captured by the Germans in December 1943. While in a 
German hospital he agreed to work for German 
intelligence. During the last two months of the war he 
served as an intelligence officer in General Andrei 
Vlasov’s anti-Soviet Russian Army of Liberation which 

fought the Red Army in alliance with the Wehrmacht. At 
the end of the war, Kopatzky was briefly imprisoned by 
the American authorities in the former concentration 
camp at Dachau.^^ 

Despite his service in the NKVD, Kopatzky’ s anti- 
Soviet credentials seemed so well established that he was 
invited to join the American-supervised German 
intelligence service established in 1946 at Pullach, near 
Munich, by General Reinhard Gehlen, the former 
Wehrmacht intelligence chief on the eastern front In 
1948 Kopatzky further distanced himself from his Soviet 
past by marrying the daughter of a former SS officer, 
Eleonore Stimer, who had been briefly imprisoned for her 
activities in the Hitler Youth. Eleonore later recalled that 
her husband “drank a lot of vodka. He kissed ladies’ 
hands ... He was very punctual, shined his shoes, did his 
gymnastics in the morning, had a neat haircut, short hair 
all his life. And he was a very good shot. Sasha liked to 
hunt and talked of hunting tigers in Siberia with his 
father.” Many years later, after Sasha’s death, it suddenly 
occurred to Eleonore, while watching a televised 
adaptation of a John Le Carre novel, that her husband 
might have married her to improve his cover. That 
realization, she says, “came like a mountain of bricks on 
me.”^^ By their wedding day Kopatzky was probably 
already planning to renew contact with Soviet 

The SVR still regards the Kopatzky case as extremely 
sensitive. It insisted as recently as 1997 that no file exists 
which suggests that Kopatzky, under any of his aliases, 
ever engaged in “collaboration ... with Soviet 
intelligence.”^^ Mitrokhin, however, was able to take 
detailed notes from the bulky file which the SVR claims 
does not exist. The file reveals that in 1949 Kopatzky 
visited the Soviet military mission in Baden-Baden, and 
was secretly transported to East Berlin where he agreed to 
become a Soviet agent.^^ Soon afterwards, he infiltrated 
the anti-Soviet emigre organization Union of the Struggle 
for Liberation of the Peoples of Russia (SBONR), based 
in Munich, which had close links with the CIA. In 1951, 
doubtless to his Soviet controllers’ delight, he was 
recruited by the CIA station in West Berlin as “principal 
agent. Successively codenamed ERWIN, HERBERT 
and RICHARD by the Centre, Kopatzky received a 
monthly salary of 500 marks in addition to his income 
from the CIA. Among his earliest successes was, on 
November 5, 1951, to get one of his fellow CIA agents, 
the Estonian Vladimir Kivi (wrongly described in 
Kopatzky’ s file as an “American intelligence chief’), 
drunk, transport him to East Berlin and hand him over to 
Soviet intelligence.^^ Though Kopatzky was not a CIA 
staff officer and never worked at Agency headquarters, he 
did enormous damage to Agency operations in Germany 
for more than a decade. According to his file, no fewer 

than twenty-three KGB legal operational officers and one 
illegal “met and worked with him” — a certain indication 
of how highly the Centre rated him.^^ 

THROUGHOUT THE COLD WAR, Soviet intelligence 
regarded the United States as its “main adversary.” In 
second place at the beginning of the Cold War was the 
United States ’s closest ally, the United Kingdom. In third 
position came France. Before the Second World War, 
France had been a major base for NKVD foreign 
operations. Her crushing defeat in June 1940, however, 
followed by the German occupation of northern France, 
the establishment of the collaborationist Vichy regime in 
the south (later also occupied by the Germans) and 
Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 
drastically reduced the scope for Soviet penetration. The 
NKGB did, however, establish a strong presence within 
Communist sections of the French Resistance. 

There were two main groups of Soviet agents in 
wartime France: one in Paris of about fifty Communists 
and fellow travelers headed by LEMOINE (transliterated 
into the Cyrillic alphabet as LEMON YE), and another of 
over twenty- five headed by HENRI, based on Toulouse, 
with, from 1941, a subgroup in Paris. According to KGB 
records, the LEMOINE group, most of whom believed 
they were working for the Communist Party rather than 
the NKGB, “was disbanded because of treachery.” 
Though six members of the HENRI group (KLOD, 

caught and shot by the Germans, the core of the group 

At the end of the war Soviet intelligence had much 
greater freedom of action in France than in either the 
United States or Britain. The Parti Communiste Frangais 
(PCF) publicly congratulated itself on its undeniably 
heroic role in the wartime Resistance, proudly termed 
itself le parti des fusilles (“the party of the shot”), and 
greatly inflated the numbers of its fallen heroes. From 
August 1944, when General de Gaulle invited the PCF to 
join the Provisional Government, there were Communist 
ministers for the first time in French history. According to 
an opinion poll in May 1945, 57 percent of the population 
thought that the defeat of Germany was due principally to 
the Soviet Union (20 percent gave the most credit to the 
United States, 12 percent to Britain). In the elections of 
October 1945 the PCF, with 26 percent of the vote, 
emerged as the largest party in France. By the end of the 
year it had almost 800,000 members. Though support for 
the PCF had almost peaked, there were many who hoped 
— or feared, particularly after de Gaulle’s resignation 
early in 1946 — that France was on the road to becoming a 
Communist-controlled “people’s democracy.” One 
socialist minister privately complained, “How many 
senior civil servants, even at the very top, are backing 
Communism to win!”^^ 

The Centre’s first instructions to the newly re- 

established Paris residency after the Liberation, dated 
November 18, 1944, instructed it to profit from the 
“current favorable situation” to renew contact with the 
pre-war agent network and recruit new agents in the 
foreign and interior ministries, intelligence agencies and 
political parties and organizations. Inspired by the success 
of scientific and technological intelligence-gathering in 
Britain and the United States, the Centre sent further 
instructions on February 20, 1945, ordering the residency 
to extend its recruitment to the Pasteur and Curie 
Institutes and other leading research bodies. The 
appointment of the ardent Communist and Nobel Laureate 
Frederic Joliot-Curie as the French govemmenf s Director 
of Scientific Research doubtless delighted the Centre. 
Joliot-Curie assured Moscow that “French scientists ... 
will always be at your disposal without asking for any 
information in return. 

During 1945 the Paris residency sent 1,123 reports to 
Moscow, based on intelligence from seventy sources. Its 
operational problems derived not from any lack of agents 
but from a shortage of controllers. Up to February 1945 
the residency had only three operational officers. In 
May MARCEL of the wartime HENRI group was 
instructed to set up a new group to assist in the 
penetration of the post-war foreign and domestic 
intelligence agencies, the foreign ministry and the 
political parties, and in re-establishing control over agents 

in the provinces.^ ^ By November the number of 
operational officers in the Paris residency had increased to 
seven, supported by six technical staff, but there was to be 
no further increase for several years. In addition to 
recruiting new agents, the residency was ordered to check 
individually every agent recruited before the war. 
Unsurprisingly, its 1945 reports were criticized for lack of 
depth and insufficient attention to the most valuable 

The next available statistics on the intelligence supplied 
by the Paris residency cover the period from July 1, 1946 
to June 30, 1947, when it supplied 2,627 reports and 
documents, well over double the total for 1945. It also had 
some major recruiting successes. In 1944 WEST, 
recruited by HENRI from the Resistance in the previous 
year, joined the newly founded foreign intelligence 
agency the DGER (from January 1946 the Service de 
Documentation Exterieure et de Contre Espionnage 
(SDECE)), working first on the British, then the Italian, 
desk. His file records that he provided “valuable 
information on the French, Italian and British intelligence 
services.” Though WEST (later renamed RANGE) was 
dismissed in 1945 and moved to a career in publishing, he 
retained contact with some of his former colleagues. 
RATYEN, the first of his recruits to be identified in the 
files noted by Mitrokhin, was dismissed from SDECE in 
1946. In 1947 WEST recruited two, more important 
SDECE officers, codenamed CHOU AN (or TORMA) and 

NOR (or NORMAN) .93 

Soviet penetration was assisted by the chronic 
infighting within SDECE. In May 1946 Andre Dewavrin 
(alias “Passy”), de Gaulle’s wartime intelligence chief and 
the first head of SDECE, was arrested on a charge of 
embezzlement of which he was later found innocent. 
For the next few years Dewavrin’ s successor, Henri 
Ribiere, and his deputy, Pierre Fourcaud, were engaged in 
such bitter feuding that Fourcaud was forced to deny 
accusations that he had sabotaged the brakes of Ribiere ’s 
car and caused a near fatal accident. On one occasion, 
during the fractious daily meeting of SDECE division 
heads, Ribiere drove his deputy out of the room with his 
walking stick. As one SDECE officer complained, 
“[DJivision heads, finding themselves with conflicting 
orders from their director and his deputy, did not know 
what to do.”^^ 

In the year up to June 30, 1947, the Paris residency 
forwarded to the Centre 1,147 documents on the French 
intelligence services, 92 on French intelligence operations 
against the Soviet Union and 50 on other intelligence 
agencies. The files noted by Mitrokhin record that both 
CHOUAN and NOR worked on political intelligence 
(SDECE Section d’ etudes politiques). CHOUAN was 
employed for a time in the American department of 
SDECE, but by 1949 was working on Soviet Bloc affairs. 
NOR specialized in intelligence on Italy.^^ WEST was 

paid 30,000 francs a month by the Paris residency, and in 
1957 was given 360,000 francs to buy a flat.^^ Ivan 
Ivanovich Agayants, the Paris resident from 1946 to 1948, 
was fond of boasting of his success in penetrating 
SDECE. In a lecture at the Centre in 1952 he sneeringly 
described French intelligence as “that prostitute I put in 
my pocket. 

Penetration of the Foreign Ministry at the Quai d’Orsay 
proved more difficult. During a visit to Moscow in June 
1946, the Communist trade union leader Benoit Frachon 
reported pessimistically: 

The officials of the Foreign Ministry represent a very 
closed caste ... well known for their reactionary 
views. Our situation at the ministry is very 
precarious. We have only one Party member. This is 
the private secretary of [Georges] Bidault [the 
Foreign Minister], who knows that she is Communist 
— so we do not have total confidence in her. Among 
the diplomats in foreign postings, only the embassy 
secretary in Prague is Communist. 

The Communist embassy secretary was almost certainly 


Etienne Manac’h, who went on to become French 
ambassador in Beijing (1969-75).^^^ Manac’h, 
codenamed TAKSIM, had first made contact with Soviet 
intelligence while stationed in Turkey in 1942. His KGB 
file describes him as a confidential contact rather than an 

agent, who provided information from time to time “on an 
ideological-political basis” until 1971. His information 
was clearly valued by the Centre. During his twenty-nine 
years’ contact with the KGB he had six case officers, the 
last of whom — M. S. Tsimbal — ^was head of the FCD 
Fifth Department, whose responsibilities included 
operations in France. 

The KGB’s most important Cold War agents in the 
Foreign Ministry were cipher personnel rather than 
diplomats. Ultimately the most valuable and longest- 
serving agent recruited by the Paris embassy at the end of 
the war was probably a 23 -year-old cipher officer in the 
Quai d’Orsay codenamed JOUR (transliterated into the 
Cyrillic alphabet as ZHUR). The large amount of Foreign 
Ministry documents and cipher materials provided by 
JOUR were despatched from Paris to Moscow in what his 
file describes as “a special container,” and enabled much 
of the cipher traffic between the Quai d’Orsay and French 
embassies abroad to be decrypted. In 1957 he was secretly 
awarded the Order of the Red Star. JOUR was still active 
a quarter of a century later, and in 1982 was awarded the 
Order of the Friendship of Peoples for his “long and 
fruitful co-operation. 

The dismissal of Communist ministers from the French 
government in May 1947 made further Soviet penetration 
of the official bureaucracy more difficult. The Centre 
complained in April 1948 that: the residency had no 
agents close to the leadership of the Gaullist 

Rass emblement du Peuple Frangais, the Christian 
Democrat MRP and other “reactionary” political parties; 
it had failed to penetrate the Soviet section of SDECE; 
intelligence on the British and American embassies was 
poor; and inadequate progress had been made in 
penetrating the Commissariat on Atomic Energy and 
other major targets for scientific and technological 

A plan was drawn up to remedy these failings and to 
promote active measures “to compromise people hostile 
to the USSR and the French Communist Party.” Once 
again, Moscow was not fully satisfied with the results 
achieved. In the five-month period from September 1 to 
February 1, 1949, the Paris residency submitted 923 
reports, of which 20 percent were judged sufficiently 
important to pass on to the Central Committee. The 
Centre noted, however, that “the requirement set by the 
leadership with regard to political intelligence had still not 
been adequately met.” During the eleven months from 
February 1 to December 31 the residency supplied 1,567 
reports. Though 21 percent were passed to the Central 
Committee, the reports were criticized for failing to 
“reveal the innermost aspects of events” and for “not 
making it possible to identify the plans of ruling circles in 
their struggle with democratic [pro-Soviet] forces. 

The decline in the number of reports to the Centre 
during 1949 — about forty a month fewer than during the 
latter months of 1948 — ^was due chiefly to what the files 

describe as a “deterioration in the operational situation” at 
the beginning of the year, caused by heightened 
surveillance by the internal security service, the Direction 
de la Surveillance du Territoire (DST), and the Surete. On 
March 12, 1949 the Centre warned the Paris residency of 
the danger of continuing to meet agents on the street or in 
cafes and restaurants and advised it to make much greater 
use of dead letter-boxes, messages in invisible ink and 
radio communication. The residency was also instructed 
to train its agents to recognize and evade surveillance, and 
to instruct them on how to behave if questioned or 
arrested. A month later the residency reported to the 
Centre that, though it was impracticable to abandon 
completely street meetings with agents, security had been 
much improved. Case officers were now forbidden to go 
directly from the embassy or any other Soviet premises to 
meet an agent. Before each meeting the officer was 
picked up by a residency driver at a pre-arranged location 
and driven to the area of the rendezvous, after elaborate 
security checks designed to detect surveillance. Following 
the meeting the case officer would pass on any materials 
supplied by the agent to another residency officer in a 
“brush contacf’ as they walked past each other. Both 
times and places of meetings with agents were regularly 
changed, and more rendezvous were arranged in 
churches, theaters, exhibitions and locations outside 

As a further security precaution, the frequency of 

meetings with agents was also reduced. The six most 
valuable were seen twice a month, ten other agents were 
met once a month and another seven once every two 
months. Less important agents were either put on ice or 
contacted by pre-arranged signals only as the need arose. 
After a year operating the new security procedures, the 
Paris residency reported that operating conditions had 
improved. On April 22, 1950 it informed the Centre that it 
was in contact with almost fifty agents — twice as many as 
a year before. For most of the next decade the 
residency was to provide better intelligence than its 
counterparts in Britain and the United States. 

foreign intelligence in the late 1940s was reflected in the 
running of its three most productive British agents. 
Remarkably, even Kim Philby had no regular controller 
during his term as head of station in Turkey from 1947 to 
1949. Except during visits to London, he communicated 
with Soviet intelligence via Guy Burgess. Burgess’s 
behavior, however, was becoming increasingly erratic. To 
his controller, Yuri Modin, it seemed “that his nerve was 
going, and that he could no longer take the strain of his 
double life.”^^^ A trip by Burgess to Gibraltar and Tangier 
in the autumn of 1949 turned into what Goronwy Rees 
called a “wild odyssey of indiscretions”: among them 
failing to pay his hotel bills, publicly identifying British 

intelligence officers and dmnkenly singing in local bars, 
“Little boys are cheap today, cheaper than yesterday.” 
Burgess was surprised not to be sacked on his return to 
London. Once back in the Foreign Office, however, he 
resumed his career as a dedicated Soviet agent, supplying 
large quantities of classified papers. On December 7, 
1949, for example, he handed Modin 168 documents, 
totaling 660 pages. KGB files also credit Burgess with 
using Anglo-American policy differences over the 
People’s Republic of China, established in October 1949, 
to cause friction in the “Special Relationship.”^ 

Donald Maclean was under even greater strain than 
Burgess. His posting to Cairo in October 1948 as 
counselor and head of chancery at the age of only thirty- 
five seemed to set him on a path which would lead him to 
the top of the diplomatic service, or a position close to it. 
But Maclean became deeply depressed at his insensitive 
handling by the Cairo residency. The documents he 
supplied were accepted without comment and no 
indication was given by the Centre of what was expected 
of him. In December 1949 Maclean attached to a bundle 
of classified diplomatic documents a note asking to be 
allowed to give up his work for Soviet intelligence. The 
Cairo residency gave so little thought to running Maclean 
that it forwarded his note unread to Moscow. Incredibly, 
the Centre also ignored it. Not till Maclean sent another 
appeal in April 1950, asking to be released from the 
intolerable strain of his double life, did he attract the 

Centre’s attention. It then read for the first time the letter 
he had sent four months earlier.^ 

While the Centre was deliberating, Maclean went 
berserk. One evening in May, while in a drunken rage, he 
and his drinking companion Philip Toynbee broke into the 
flat of two female members of the US embassy, ransacked 
their bedroom, ripped apart their underclothes, then 
moved on to destroy the bathroom. There, Toynbee later 
recalled, “Donald raises a large mirror above his head and 
crashes it into the bath, when to my amazement and 
delight, alas, the bath breaks in two while the mirror 
remains intact.” A few days later Maclean was sent back 
to London where the Foreign Office gave him the summer 
off and paid for treatment by a psychiatrist who diagnosed 
overwork, marital problems and repressed homosexuality. 
In the autumn, apparently back in control of himself, at 
least in office hours, he was made head of the American 
desk in the Foreign Office. 

The impact of Burgess’s and Maclean’s intelligence in 
Moscow was heightened by the outbreak of the Korean 
War in June 1950. Maclean’s deputy on the American 
desk, Robert Cecil, later concluded that the Kremlin must 
have found the documents provided by Maclean “of 
inestimable value in advising the Chinese and the North 
Koreans on strategy and negotiating positions.”^ In 
addition to supplying classified documents, Maclean and 
Burgess also put their own anti-American gloss on them 

and thus strengthened Soviet fears that the United States 
might escalate the Korean conflict into world war. For 
perhaps the first time in his diplomatic career, Maclean 
showed open sympathy in a Foreign Office minute with 
the crude Stalinist analysis of the inherently aggressive 
designs of American finance capital. There was, he said, 
“some point” to the argument that the American economy 
was now so geared to the military machine that all-out 
war might seem preferable to a recession produced by 
demobilization. ^ 

The Centre’s most prized British agent, however, 
remained Kim Philby, who, it was hoped, would one day 
rise to become Chief of the Secret Service. In the autumn 
of 1949 he was appointed SIS station commander in 
Washington. Philby was exultant. His new posting, he 
later wrote, brought him “right back into the middle of 
intelligence policy-making” and gave him “a close-up 
view of the American intelligence organizations.”^ 

Before his departure for the United States, Philby was 
“indoctrinated” into the VENONA secret. Though aware 
of the possibility that one of the decrypts might identify 
him as a Soviet agent, he was doubtless reassured to 
discover that VENONA provided comparatively little 
information on NKGB activities in Britain. The bulk of 
the Soviet intelligence decrypts concerned operations in 
the United States. In late September 1949, immediately 
after the successful test of the first Soviet atomic bomb. 

Philby discovered during his VENONA briefing that the 
atom spy CHARLES in Los Alamos had been identified 
as Klaus Fuchs. The Centre promptly warned those of its 
American agents who had been in contact with Fuchs that 
they might have to escape through Mexico. It did not, 
however, succeed in warning Fuchs, who in April 1950 
was sentenced to fourteen years’ imprisonment. 

On his arrival in Washington in October 1949, Philby 
quickly succeeded in gaining regular access to VENONA 
decrypts. That access became particularly important after 
the arrest and imprisonment in the following year of 
William Weisband, the American agent who had first 
revealed the VENONA secret to the Centre. Philby’ s 
liaison duties with the CIA allowed him to warn the 
Centre of American as well as British operations against 
the Soviet Bloc, even enabling him to provide the 
geographical coordinates of parachute drops by British 
and American agents. When writing his memoirs later, 
Philby was sometimes unable to resist gloating over the 
fate of the hundreds of agents he betrayed. Referring to 
those who parachuted into the arms of the MGB, he wrote 
with macabre irony, ‘T do not know what happened to the 
parties concerned. But I can make an informed guess. 

Philby’ s success in Washington was achieved despite, 
rather than because of, the assistance given him by the 
KI/MGB in Washington. The chaotic state of the 
Washington residency, which led to the recall of two 

successive residents in 1948-9/^^ made Philby refuse to 
have any contact with any legal Soviet intelligence 
officers in the United States. For almost a year Philby’s 
sole contact with the Centre was via messages sent to 
Burgess in London. 

In the summer of 1950 Philby received an unexpected 
letter from Burgess. “I have a shock for you,” Burgess 
began. “I have just been posted to Washington.” Philby 
later claimed in his memoirs that he had agreed to put 
Burgess up in his large neoclassical house at 4100 
Nebraska Avenue during his tour of duty at the 
Washington embassy to try to keep him out of the 
spectacular “scrapes” for which he was now notorious. 
The “scrapes,” however, continued. In January 1951 
Burgess burst in on a dinner party given by the Philby s 
and drew an insulting (and allegedly obscene) caricature 
of Libby Harvey, wife of a CIA officer. The Harveys 
stormed out, Aileen Philby retired to the kitchen and Kim 
sat with his head in his hands, repeatedly asking Burgess, 
“How could you? How could you?”^^^ 

Despite Burgess’s scrapes in the United States, he 
fulfilled an important role as courier between Philby and 
his newly appointed case officer, a Russian illegal 
codenamed HARRY (GARRI in Cyrillic transliteration), 
who had arrived in New York a few months before 
Burgess began his posting at the Washington embassy. 
HARRY had been bom Valeri Mikhaylovich Makayev in 

1918. In May 1947 he had been sent to Warsaw to 
establish his legend as a US citizen who had lived for 
some years in Poland. As evidence of his bogus identity 
the Centre gave him an out-of-date US passport issued in 
1930 to Ivan (“John”) Mikhailovich Kovalik, bom in 
Chicago to Ukrainian parents in 1917.^^^ The real 
Kovalik, whose identity Makayev assumed, had been 
taken to Poland as a child by his parents in 1930, later 
settling in the Soviet Union; he died in 1957 in 
Chelyabinskaya Oblast. 

After two years in Warsaw, Makayev was able to 
obtain a new US passport in the name of Kovalik with the 
help of a female clerk at the American embassy. The 
MGB discovered that in November 1948, without 
informing the embassy, the clerk had married a Polish 
citizen with whom she planned to return to the United 
States after her tour of duty. Anxious to keep her marriage 
secret, she was pressured by the MGB into swearing 
under oath that she was personally acquainted with 
Kovalik and his parents and could vouch for his good 
character. According to Makayev ’s file, his application 
for a new US passport was “processed in an expeditious 
manner and with significant deviations from the mles.” 
The cormpt embassy clerk received a reward of 750 

On March 5, 1950 Makayev left Gdynia for the United 
States on board the ship Batory. ™ The Centre concluded 

that his cover, like Fisher’s, could best be preserved 
within New York’s cosmopolitan artistic community. 
Soon after his arrival, he began an affair with a Polish- 
bom ballerina, codenamed ALICE, who owned a ballet 
studio in Manhattan. Makayev’s gifts as a musician 
probably exceeded Fisher’s as a painter. After a brief 
period working as a furrier, he succeeded in obtaining a 
job teaching musical composition at New York 

The Centre had high hopes of Makayev. He was given 
25,000 dollars to establish a new illegal American 
residency to mn parallel with Fisher’s. Two other Soviet 
illegals were selected to work under him: Reino 
Hayhanen (codenamed VIK), who had assumed a bogus 
Finnish identity, and Vitali Ivanovich Ly ampin (DIM or 
DIMA), who had an Austrian legend. Two dedicated 
communications channels were prepared for the new 
residency: a postal route between agents MAY in New 
York and GERY in London, and a courier route using 
ASKO, a Finnish seaman on a ship which traveled 
between Finland and New York. Makayev impressed the 
Centre by getting to know the family of the Republican 
senator for Vermont, Ralph E. Flanders. His main 
mission, however, was to act as controller of Moscow’s 
most important British agent, Kim Philby.^^^ 

Burgess’s first journey as a courier between Philby in 
Washington and Makayev in New York took place in 

November 1950.^^^ The main pretext for his journeys to 
New York was to visit his friend Alan Maclean (younger 
brother of Donald), private secretary to the British 
representative at the United Nations, Gladwyn Jebb.^^^ 
Once the liaison established by Burgess was working 
smoothly, Philby agreed to meet Makayev himself 
Burgess, however, continued to act as the usual method of 
communication between Philby and his case officer. 
His visits to Alan Maclean became so frequent that Jebb 
formed the mistaken impression that the two men “shared 
a flat.” Conversations with Alan doubtless also helped 
Burgess keep track of Donald Maclean’s unstable mental 

Some of the most important intelligence which Philby 
supplied to Makayev directly concerned Maclean. The 
VENONA decrypts to which he had access contained a 
number of references to an agent codenamed HOMER 
operating in Washington at the end of the war, but 
initially only vague clues to his identity. Philby quickly 
realized that HOMER was Maclean, but was informed by 
the Centre that “Maclean should stay in his post as long as 
possible” and that plans would be made to rescue him 
“before the net closed in.”^^^ The net did not begin to 
close until the winter of 1950-1. By the end of 1950 the 
list of suspects had narrowed to thirty-five. By the 
beginning of April 1951 it had shrunk to nine.^^^ A few 
days later a telegram decrypted by Meredith Gardner 

finally identified HOMER as Maclean. It revealed that in 
June 1944 HOMER’ s wife was expecting a baby and 
living with her mother in New York^^^ — information 
which fitted Melinda Maclean but not the wife of any 
other suspect. 

There still remained a breathing space of at least a few 
weeks in which to arrange Maclean’s escape. The search 
for the evidence necessary to convict him of espionage, 
complicated by the decision not to use VENONA in any 
prosecution, made necessary a period of surveillance by 
MI5 before any arrest. The plan to warn Maclean that he 
had been identified as a Soviet agent was worked out not 
by the Centre but by Philby and Burgess. In April 1951 
Burgess was ordered home in disgrace after a series of 
escapades had aroused the collective wrath of the Virginia 
State Police, the State Department and the British 
ambassador. On the eve of Burgess’s departure from New 
York aboard the Queen Mary, he and Philby dined 
together in a Chinese restaurant where the piped music 
inhibited eavesdropping and agreed that Burgess would 
convey a warning to both Maclean and the London 
residency as soon as he reached Britain. 

Philby was even more concerned with his own survival 
than with Maclean’s. If Maclean cracked under 
interrogation, as seemed possible in view of his 
overwrought condition, Philby and the rest of the Five 
would also be at risk. Mitrokhin’s notes on the KGB file 

record: “STANLEY [Philby] demanded HOMER’ s 
immediate exfiltration to the USSR, so that he himself 
would not be compromised.”^^^ He also extracted an 
assurance from Burgess that he would not accompany 
Maclean to Moscow, for that too would compromise him. 
Immediately after his return to England on May 7, 
Burgess called on Blunt and asked him to deliver a 
message to Modin, whom Blunt knew as “Peter.” 
According to Modin, Blunt’s anxious appearance, even 
before he spoke, indicated that something was desperately 
wrong. “Peter,” he said, “there’s serious trouble. Guy 
Burgess has just arrived back in London. HOMER’ s 
about to be arrested ... Donald’s now in such a state that 
I’m convinced he’ll break down the moment they 
question him.” Two days later the Centre agreed to 
Maclean’ s exfiltration. 

Meanwhile Burgess had seen Maclean and was worried 
that, despite (or because of) his nervous exhaustion, he 
might refuse to defect. He reported to Modin and the 
London resident, Nikolai Rodin, that Maclean could not 
bring himself to leave his wife Melinda, who was 
expecting their third child in a few weeks’ time. When 
Rodin reported Maclean’s hesitations to Moscow, the 
Centre telegraphed, “HOMER must agree to defect.” 
Melinda Maclean, who had been aware that her husband 
was a Soviet spy ever since he had asked her to marry 
him, agreed that, for his own safety, he should leave for 

Moscow without delay. It was clear, however, that 
Maclean would need an escort. On May 17 the Centre 
instructed the London residency that Burgess was to 
accompany him to Moscow. Burgess initially refused to 
go, recalling his promise to Philby not to defect, and 
seemed to Modin “close to hysteria.” Rodin, however, 
seems to have persuaded Burgess to go by giving the 
impression that he would not need to accompany Maclean 
all the way, and would in any case be free to return to 
London. In reality, the Centre believed that Burgess had 
become a liability and was determined to get him to 
Moscow — by deception, if necessary — and keep him 
there. “As long as he agreed to go with Maclean,” wrote 
Modin later, “the rest mattered precious little. Cynically 
enough, the Centre had ... concluded that we had not one 
but two bumt-out agents on our hands. 

Though the Foreign Secretary, Herbert Morrison, had 
secretly authorized the interrogation of Maclean, no date 
had been decided for it to begin. The London 
residency, however, mistakenly believed that Maclean 
was to be arrested on Monday, May 28, and made plans 
for his exfiltration with Burgess during the previous 
weekend. It reported to the Centre that surveillance of 
Maclean by MI5 and Special Branch ceased at 8 p.m. 
each day and at weekends. (It may not have realized that 
there was no surveillance at all of Maclean at his home at 
Tatsfield on the Kent-Surrey border.) The residency also 

discovered that the pleasure boat Falaise made weekend 
round-trip cruises from Southampton, calling in at French 
ports, which did not require passports. Burgess was 
instructed to buy tickets for himself and Maclean under 
assumed names for the cruise leaving at midnight on 
Friday, May 25. That evening Burgess arrived at Tatsfield 
in a hired car, had dinner with the Macleans, then drove 
off with Donald to Southampton where they were just in 
time to board the Falaise before it set sail. The next 
morning they left the boat at St. Malo, made their way to 
Rennes and caught the train to Paris. From Paris they took 
another train to Switzerland, where they were issued false 
passports by the Soviet embassy in Berne. In Zurich they 
bought air tickets to Stockholm via Prague, but left the 
plane at Prague, where they were met by Soviet 
intelligence officers. By the time Melinda Maclean had 
reported that her husband had not returned home after the 
weekend, Burgess and Maclean were behind the Iron 

Once in the Soviet Union, Burgess was told that he 
would not be allowed back to Britain but would receive 
an annual pension of 2,000 roubles. Modin later 
complained that his talents were wasted by the Centre: 
“He read a lot, walked and occasionally picked up another 
man for sex ... He might have been very useful to [the 
KGB]; but instead he did nothing because nothing was 
asked of him, and it was not in his nature to solicit 

work.”^^^ Maclean was rather better treated than Burgess. 
He settled in Kuibyshev, took Soviet citizenship under the 
name Mark Petrovich Fraser, was awarded an annual 
pension twice that of Burgess and taught for the next two 
years at the Kuibyshev Pedagogical Institute. In 
September 1953, in an operation codenamed SIRA, his 
wife and three children were exfiltrated from Britain to 
join him in Kuibyshev. 

successful exfiltration of Burgess and Maclean had 
“raised the authority of the Soviet intelligence service in 
the eyes of Soviet agents.”^^^ That, however, was not 
Philby’s view. At a meeting on May 24, Makayev had 
found him “alarmed and concerned for his own security” 
and insistent that he would be put “in jeopardy” if 
Burgess as well as Maclean fled to Moscow. The first 
that Philby learned of Burgess’s defection with Maclean 
was during a briefing about five days later by the MI5 
liaison officer in Washington. “My consternation [at the 
news],” wrote Philby later, “was no pretense.” Later that 
day he drove into the Virginia countryside and buried the 
photographic equipment with which he had copied 
documents for Soviet intelligence in a forest — an action 
he had mentally rehearsed many times since arriving in 
Washington two years earlier. Just when Philby most 
needed his controller’s assistance, however, Makayev let 

him down. The New York legal residency left a message 
and 2,000 dollars in a dead letter-box for HARRY to 
deliver to Philby. Makayev failed to find them and Philby 
never received them.^^^ 

An inquiry by the Centre into Makayev ’s conduct in 
New York, prompted by his failure to help Philby, was 
highly critical. It found him guilty of “lack of discipline,” 
“violations of the Centre’s orders” and “crude 
manners” — a defect blamed on his neglected childhood. 
Plans for Makayev to found a new illegal residency in the 
United States were canceled and he was transferred to 
Fisher’s residency so that he could receive expert 
supervision. His performance, however, failed to improve. 
While returning to New York from leave in Moscow, he 
lost a hollow imitation Swiss coin which contained secret 
operational instructions on microfilm. After a further 
inquiry at the Centre, Makayev was recalled and his 
career as an illegal terminated. Attempts to recover 9,000 
dollars allotted to him in New York (2,000 dollars in bank 
accounts and 7,000 dollars in stocks) were unsuccessful 
and the whole sum had to be written off.^^^ 

The Centre calculated that since their recruitment in 
1934-5, Philby, Burgess and Maclean had supplied more 
than 20,000 pages of “valuable” classified documents and 
agent reports. As Philby had feared, however, the 
defection of Burgess and Maclean did severe, though not 
quite terminal, damage to the careers in Soviet 

intelligence of the other members of the Magnificent Five. 
Immediately after the defection, Blunt went through 
Burgess’s flat, searching for and destroying incriminating 
documents. He failed, however, to notice a series of 
unsigned notes describing confidential discussions in 
Whitehall in 1939. In the course of a lengthy MI5 
investigation. Sir John Colville, one of those mentioned in 
the notes, was able to identify the author as Caimcross. 
MI5 began surveillance of Caimcross and followed him to 
a hurriedly arranged meeting with his controller, Modin. 
Just in time, Modin noticed the surveillance and returned 
home without meeting Caimcross. At a subsequent 
interrogation by MI5, Caimcross admitted passing 
information to the Russians but denied being a spy. 
Shortly afterwards he received “a large sum of money” at 
a farewell meeting with Modin, resigned from the 
Treasury and went to live abroad. 

Immediately after the defection of Burgess and 
Maclean, the Centre instmcted Modin to press Blunt to 
follow them to Moscow. Unwilling to exchange the 
prestigious, congenial surroundings of the Courtauld 
Institute for the bleak socialist realism of Stalin’s Russia, 
Blunt refused. ‘T know perfectly well how your people 
live,” Blunt told his controller, “and I can assure you it 
would be very hard, almost unbearable, for me to do 
likewise.” Modin, by his own account, was left 
speechless. Blunt was rightly confident that MI5 would 
have no hard evidence against him. Soviet intelligence 

had few further dealings with him.^^^ 

As Philby had feared, the defection of his friend and 
former lodger, Burgess, placed him under immediate 
suspicion. The Director of Central Intelligence, General 
Walter Bedell Smith, promptly informed SIS that he was 
no longer acceptable as its liaison officer in Washington. 
On his return to London, Philby was officially retired 
from SIS. In December 1951 he was summoned to a 
“judicial inquiry” at MI5 headquarters — in effect an 
informal trial, of which he later gave a misleading account 
in his memoirs. According to one of those present, “There 
was not a single officer who sat through the proceedings 
who came away not totally convinced of Philby’ s guilt.” 
Contrary to the impression Philby sought to create in 
Moscow after his defection twelve years later, many of 
his own former colleagues in SIS shared the opinion of 
MI5. But the “judicial inquiry” concluded that it would 
probably never be possible to find the evidence for a 
successful prosecution. Within SIS Philby retained the 
support of a loyal group of friends to whom he cleverly 
presented himself as the innocent victim of a McCarthyite 
witch-hunt. Soviet intelligence had no further contact with 
him until 1954.^^^ 

Philby seems never to have realized that Burgess’s 
sudden defection was the result not of his own loss of 
nerve but of a cynical deception by the Centre, and never 
forgave Burgess for putting him in jeopardy. By the time 
Philby himself finally defected to Moscow in 1963, 

Burgess was on his death bed. He asked his old friend to 
visit him at the KGB hospital in Pekhotnaya Street. Philby 
refused to go.^^^ His sense of grievance was increased by 
his own reception in Moscow. Philby had long believed 
that he was an officer in the Soviet foreign intelligence 
service and was shocked to discover that, as a foreign 
agent, he would never be awarded officer rank. Worse 
still, he was not fully trusted by the leadership either of 
the KGB or its First Chief (Foreign Intelligence) 
Directorate. Not until the sixtieth anniversary celebrations 
of the October Revolution, fourteen years after his arrival 
in Moscow, was the KGB’s most celebrated Western 
agent at last allowed to enter its headquarters. 



Part 1: North American Illegals in the 1950s 

One of the most remarkable public appearances ever 
made by a Soviet illegal took place on November 6, 1951, 
when “Teodoro B. Castro” attended the opening in Paris 
of the Sixth Session of the United Nations General 
Assembly as an adviser to the Costa Rican delegation. 
Castro was, in reality, Iosif Romualdovich Grigulevich 
(variously codenamed MAKS, ARTUR and DAKS),^ a 
Lithuanian Jew whose main previous expertise had been 
in sabotage and assassination. He had trained saboteurs 
during the Spanish Civil War, taken a leading role in the 
operations to kill Trotsky in Mexico and had run a 
wartime illegal residency in Argentina which specialized 
in the sabotage of ships and cargoes bound for Germany.^ 
While in Argentina, Grigulevich had begun to develop an 

elaborate Latin American legend for use after the war.^ 
Late in 1949, Grigulevich and his wife, Laura Araujo 
Aguilar (a Mexican illegal agent codenamed LUIZA), set 
up an illegal residency in Rome. Posing as Teodoro 
Castro, the illegitimate son of a dead (and childless) Costa 
Rican notable, Grigulevich established a small import- 
export business to provide cover for his intelligence work. 
In the autumn of 1950 he made the acquaintance of a 
visiting delegation from Costa Rica which included the 
leading Costa Rican politician of his generation, Jose 
Figueres Ferrer, head of the founding junta of the Second 
Republic which had restored constitutional government 
and later President of the Republic in 1953-8 and 1970-4. 
Grigulevich ’s success in winning Figueres ’s confidence 
must have exceeded his wildest expectations. 
Hoodwinked by Grigulevich’ s fraudulent account of his 
illegitimate birth, Figueres told him they were distant 
relatives. Thereafter, according to Grigulevich’ s file, he 
became the friend and confidant of the future president, 
using the Centre’s money to invest with him in an Italian 
firm importing Costa Rican coffee.^ 

In October 1951, under his cover name Teodoro Castro, 
Grigulevich was appointed Costa Rica’s charge d’affaires 
in Rome. A month later he was chosen as an adviser to 
the Costa Rican delegation to the Sixth Session of the UN 
General Assembly at its meeting in Paris. During the 
assembly he was introduced to the US Secretary of State, 
Dean Acheson, and the British Foreign Secretary, 

Anthony Eden — ^but not, apparently, to the Soviet Foreign 
Minister, Andrei Vyshinsky.^ Vyshinsky’s usual 
oratorical style at international gatherings was tedious and 
longwinded. On this occasion, however, he arrived with a 
caged dove, intended to represent the innocent victims of 
imperialist aggression, then proceeded to speak with the 
brutal sarcasm for which he had been infamous as 
prosecutor during the show trials of the Great Terror. 
Referring to a speech by President Truman on arms 
limitation, Vyshinsky declared in the course of a lengthy 
diatribe, ‘T could hardly sleep all night last night having 
read that speech. I could not sleep because I kept 

Among the other targets for Vyshinsky’s sarcasm was 
the Costa Rican delegation. One of the motions debated 
by the General Assembly was the call by the Greek 
delegation for the return to Greece of the children 
evacuated to the Soviet Bloc during the Greek civil war. 
At Acheson’s request, the Costa Rican delegation agreed 
to support the motion. Doubtless to his extreme 
embarrassment, Grigulevich was chosen to draft a speech 
in favor of it to be delivered by Jorge Martinez Moreno. 
He did his best to limit the offense to the Soviet 
delegation by somewhat vacuous rhetoric which 
emphasized “the anxiety and the interest with which [the 
Costa Rican] delegation had always considered any threat 
liable to endanger the peace of the world,” and 
congratulated the UN Special Committee on the Balkans 

“for its work of observation and conciliation, thanks to 
which ... although the Balkans remained a danger, at least 
world peace had been safeguarded.” The Soviet 
delegation was unimpressed. Probably unaware of 
Castro’s real identity, Vyshinsky condemned the speech 
as the ramblings of a diplomatic clown. ^ 

Vyshinsky’s denunciation, however, did nothing to 
damage Grigulevich’s diplomatic career. On May 14, 
1952 he presented his letters of credence as Envoy 
Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Costa Rica 
in Rome to the Italian president, Luigi Einaudi. According 
to his file, Grigulevich was on good terms with the 
American ambassador, Ellsworth Bunker, and his 
successor, Claire Boothe Luce, and successfully 
cultivated the Costa Rican nuncio to the Vatican, Prince 
Giulio Pacelli, a nephew of Pope Pius XII. Grigulevich 
had a total of fifteen audiences with the Pope. He also 
made friends with one of Italy’s leading post-war 
politicians, the Christian Democrat Alcide de Gasperi 
(Prime Minister, 1945-53), who gave him a camera 
inscribed “In token of our friendship.”^ 

Grigulevich’s astonishing transformation from Soviet 
saboteur and assassin into a popular and successful Latin 
American diplomat, combined with the initial success of 
“Willie” Fisher’s illegal residency in providing 
“supersecref ’ nuclear intelligence from the United States,^ 
seemed to vindicate the Centre’s early Cold War strategy 

of attempting to recreate the age of the Great Illegals. The 
role of the post-war illegals was considered to be 
potentially even more important than that of their 
illustrious predecessors. If the Cold War turned into hot 
war, as the Centre thought quite possible, Soviet 
embassies and the legal residencies they contained would 
have to be withdrawn from NATO countries, leaving the 
illegals to run wartime intelligence operations. 

DESPITE THE EARLY Cold War success of Grigulevich 
and Fisher, the mood in the Centre at the beginning of the 
1950s was anything but triumphalist. As a result of the 
identification of Soviet spies in the VENONA decrypts, 
following the earlier revelations by Bentley, Chambers 
and Gouzenko, the Centre had to set about rebuilding 
almost its entire American agent network while operating 
under far closer FBI surveillance than ever before. It 
could no longer count on significant help from the 
Communist Party of the United States (CPUS A), which 
during the Second World War had assisted Soviet 
penetration of the Roosevelt administration, the 
intelligence community and the MANHATTAN project. 

In 1949 Gene Dennis, the CPUS A general secretary, and 
ten other party leaders were tried on charges of 
advocating the forcible overthrow of the federal 
government. Dennis and nine of the defendants were 
sentenced to five years in jail, the eleventh was jailed for 
three years, and all the defense attorneys were found in 

contempt of court. After the Supreme Court upheld the 
sentences in 1951, more than a hundred other leading 
Communists were convicted on similar charges. For most 
of the decade the Party was forced into a largely 
underground existence. 

The Centre was also greatly exercised by the 
unprecedented publicity given to Soviet intelligence 
operations in the United States. On January 24, 1950 
Klaus Fuchs began confessing his wartime espionage at 
Los Alamos to his British interrogators. The next day, in 
New York, Alger Hiss was sentenced to five years’ 
imprisonment for perjury in denying espionage charges 
before a Grand Jury. On February 2 Fuchs was formally 
charged in London, and the menace of Soviet atomic 
espionage burst on to the front pages of the American 
press. A week later the previously little-known Wisconsin 
senator, Joseph R. McCarthy, falsely claimed to have the 
names of 205 State Department Communists who were 
“shaping” American foreign policy. Despite his 
outrageous inventions and exaggerations, McCarthy 
rapidly won a mass following. He did so because he 
succeeded in striking a popular chord. To many 
Americans the idea of an “enemy within,” given 
plausibility by the convictions of Hiss and Fuchs 
(followed a year later by those of the Rosenbergs), helped 
to explain why the United States, despite its immense 
power, seemed unable to prevent the onward march of 
world Communism and the emergence of the Soviet 

Union as a nuclear superpower. As late as January 1954 
opinion polls found 50 percent of Americans with a 
favorable opinion of McCarthy and only 29 percent 
opposed to him. 

President Truman’s claim in 1951 that “the greatest 
asset that the Kremlin has is Senator McCarthy” was, in 
the long run, to be proved right. McCarthy ultimately did 
more for the Soviet cause than any agent of influence the 
KGB ever had. His preposterous self-serving crusade 
against the “Red Menace” made liberal opinion around 
the world skeptical of the reality of Moscow’s secret 
intelligence offensive against the Main Adversary. Even 
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, executed one after the other 
in the same electric chair at New York’s Sing Sing Prison 
in 1953, were widely believed to have been framed. It 
took some years, however, for the Centre to grasp the 
enormous propaganda advantages of McCarthyism. At the 
time the Centre was chiefly concerned by the increased 
difficulties created by “spy mania” in the United States 
for its attempts to recruit and run new American agents. 

McCarthyism reinforced the Centre’s belief in the 
importance of expanding its illegal presence on the 
territory of the Main Adversary. While legal residencies 
based in official Soviet missions were inevitably subject 
to increasingly sophisticated FBI surveillance, illegal 
residencies could operate freely so long as they remained 
unidentified. Since his arrival in the United States in 1947 
“Willie” Fisher (MARK) had attracted no suspicion 

whatsoever — despite the fact that his agent, Theodore 
Hall, was interrogated by the FBI in 1951 after his 
identity was disclosed by the VENONA decrypts. The 
Centre also took seriously the possibility that illegal 
residencies might have to take over all intelligence 
operations if war or other crises led to the expulsion of 
Soviet missions and legal residencies. The preparations 
for a major expansion of the illegal residencies were 
enormously detailed. In 1954 the Illegals Directorate drew 
up plans for a network of 130 “documentation agents” 
whose sole responsibility was to obtain birth certificates, 
passports and other documents to support the illegals’ 
legends. Operations officers specializing in illegal 
documentation were posted in twenty-two Western and 
Third World residencies, as well as in China and all 
Soviet Bloc KGB liaison missions. 

There were, however, more serious obstacles than the 
Centre was willing to acknowledge than the expansion of 
its illegal networks. The age of the Great Illegals — 
brilliant cosmopolitans such as Deutsch and Maly, able to 
inspire others with their own visionary faith in the future 
of the Soviet system — had gone, never to return. Turning 
Soviet citizens brought up in the authoritarian, 
intellectually blinkered command economy of Stalin’s 
Russia into people who could pass as Westerners and 
cope successfully with life in the United States was to 
prove a daunting, as well as time-consuming, business. 

Recruiting high-flying ideologically committed American 
agents was also vastly more difficult during the Cold War 
than during the 1930s or the Second World War. The 
Soviet Union had lost much of its appeal even to young 
radical intellectuals alienated by the materialism and 
injustices of American society. It was deeply ironic that 
when McCarthy’s self-serving campaign against the Red 
Menace was at its height, Soviet penetration of the 
American government was at its lowest ebb for almost 
thirty years. 

The Centre was further hampered by its own 
cumbersome bureaucracy, complicated during the final 
years of the Stalinist era by the rise and fall of the 
Committee of Information (KI) as the overseer of Soviet 
foreign intelligence.^^ In the course of the Cold War, the 
organization of the Illegals Directorate changed eight 
times, and the role assigned to it was modified on 
fourteen different occasions. Aleksandr Korotkov, the 
head of the directorate during the first decade of the Cold 
War, had no experience of life in the West and little 
understanding of the problems faced by illegals in the 
United States. Few of his grandiose plans for illegal 
operations against the Main Adversary were ever realized. 

Throughout the 1950s, the Centre struggled to establish 
even one more illegal residency in the United States to 
add to that of Fisher. The first attempt to found a second 
residency collapsed in ignominious failure, the recall in 
1951 of Makayev (HARRY), the intended resident, and 

the disappearance of 9,000 dollars of KI funds. The next 
attempt was more cautious. Using a strategy which it was 
later to repeat, the Centre decided to send a potential 
illegal resident to Canada, wait until he was well 
established, and only then move him on to the more 
difficult terrain of the Main Adversary. The first Soviet 
illegal to use Canada as a staging post for the United 
States was the 30-year-old Yevgeni Vladimirovich Brik 
(codenamed HART), who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, 
in November 1951 with instructions to take up residence 
in Montreal. 

Brik had the great advantage of a bilingual education. 
From 1932 to 1937 he had been a pupil at the Anglo- 
American School in Moscow, subsequently spending 
several years in New York, where his father worked for 
Amtorg, the Soviet trade mission in the United States, 
before returning to serve in the Red Army during the 
Great Patriotic War. In 1948 Brik was instructed to 
cultivate Western pupils at his old school in order to test 
his suitability for intelligence work in North America. 
Having succeeded in that exercise to the Centre’s 
satisfaction, he began a two-year training course in 1949, 
covering ciphers, secret writing, use of short-wave radio, 
selection and use of dead letter-boxes, anti- surveillance 
precautions and methods of intelligence collection. Brik 
was also taught the trade of a watchmaker in order to 
enable him to start a small business in Canada. 

For his journey to Canada, Brik adopted the identity of 
a Canadian “live double,” Ivan Vasilyevich Gladysh 
(codenamed FRED), recruited in July 1951 specifically to 
provide cover for him. On instructions from the Centre, 
Gladysh crossed the Atlantic to Britain, then traveled 
through France and West Germany to Vienna, where he 
met Brik. In Vienna Gladysh briefed Brik on the details of 
his life in Canada and his journey to Europe, then gave 
him his Canadian passport. Brik pasted his own 
photograph in the passport in place of Gladysh’ s and set 
off across the Atlantic.^ ^ After landing at Halifax, Brik 
took a train to Montreal and went to the station lavatories. 
On one of the cubicle doors he saw the chalk mark he had 
been told to expect. He went inside, removed the top of 
the cistern and found taped to the underside the birth 
certificate and other documents belonging to another “live 
double,” David Semyonovich Soboloff.^^ Soboloff 
(codenamed SOKOL) had been bom in Toronto in 1919 
but at the age of sixteen had emigrated with his family to 
the Soviet Union. In 1951 he was working as a teacher at 
the Magnitogorsk Mining and Metallurgical Institute. For 
the remainder of his time in Canada Brik became David 
Soboloff. In July he obtained a passport in his name.^^ 
Brik succeeded in persuading the Centre that there was 
no realistic possibility of establishing himself as a 
watchmaker in Montreal, and that he should open a 
oneman photographic studio instead. While in Montreal, 

he was instructed to begin making plans for emigration to 
the United States.^^ Brik, however, proved an even more 
disastrous choice than Makayev as the potential head of 
an illegal American residency. Without telling the Centre, 
in October 1953 he began a passionate affair with the wife 
of a Canadian soldier living in Kingston, Ontario. In 
order not to break contact with her, Brik persuaded the 
Centre that it would be premature for him to move to the 
United States. Before long he admitted to his lover that he 
was a Russian spy living under a false identity and tried to 
persuade her to leave her husband. She refused but 
begged him to go to the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted 
Police) and make a voluntary confession.^^ 

In November 1953 Brik gave in to his lover’s pleas and 
telephoned the RCMP headquarters in Ottawa. Terry 
Guernsey, the head of the diminutive B (Counter- 
intelligence) Branch of the RCMP Security Service, 
decided to run Brik (codenamed GIDEON by B Branch) 
as a double agent in order to uncover as much as possible 
about Soviet intelligence operations in Canada. GIDEON 
proved unusually difficult to run, particularly when his 
lover broke off their affair, and his drinking ran 
periodically out of control. On one occasion, after 
consuming more than a bottle of Old Tom gin, he rang the 
Montreal Gazette and, to the horror of the RCMP officer 
monitoring his telephone calls, said in a drunken slur, 
‘T’m a Russian spy. Do you want a story?” Like the 

Ottawa Journal which had turned away Gouzenko in 
September 1945, the Gazette failed to realize it was being 
offered the spy story exclusive of the decade and 
dismissed the caller as a drunk.^^ 

Until the summer of 1955 it did not occur to the KGB 
that the illegal HART (Brik) might now be a double 
agent. Once it was satisfied that he had successfully 
established his bogus identity and cover profession in 
Montreal, the Centre proceeded to the next stage in his 
development as an illegal resident whose main role would 
be as an agent controller. Between 1951 and 1953 the 
Ottawa legal residency, spurred on by Moscow’s criticism 
of its inertia since the defection of Gouzenko, recruited 
eleven agents (all apparently fairly low-level) with the 
assistance of the Canadian Communist Party. Five were 
Communists and most supplied scientific and 
technological intelligence.^^ By transferring some of the 
agents to an illegal controller, the Centre hoped to 
overcome the problems created by the RCMP security 
service’s surveillance of the Ottawa embassy. 

By the time the KGB realized that Brik was under 
RCMP control, it had put him in touch with five agents. 
Three were male: LISTER, a Toronto Communist of 
Ukrainian origin bom in 1919; LIND, an Irish-Canadian 
Communist employee of the A. V. Roe aircraft company, 
also resident in Toronto; and POMOSHCHNIK, the 
Communist owner of a radio and television sales and 

service business in Ottawa.^^ The intelligence supplied by 
LIND included plans for the CF-105 Avro Arrow, then 
among the most advanced jet fighter aircraft in the 
world. Brik also knew the identities of EMMA and 
MARA, two female agents used as “live letterboxes” 
(LLBs) for communications with the Centre. EMMA, 
who had been recruited while studying at the Sorbonne in 
1951, took the Canadian External Affairs Ministry 
entrance examination, but was unsuccessful. In 1954 she 
opened an arts and crafts shop in Quebec. MARA was a 
French fashion designer, bom in 1939, the co-owner of a 
furniture shop in Paris who was used as an LLB for KGB 
communications from Canada.^ ^ 

The Centre later concluded that Brik had betrayed all 
five of the agents with whom he had been put in contact. 
He was unaware, however, of the identity of Hugh 
Hambleton, ultimately the most important of the agents 
recmited by the Ottawa legal residency in the early 1950s. 
Hambleton had been bom in Ottawa in 1922 and had 
spent some of his childhood in France, where his father 
was a Canadian press correspondent. During the Second 
World War he served as an intelligence officer with the 
Free French in Algiers and, after the Liberation, in Paris, 
before becoming French liaison officer with the US 
army’s 103rd Division in Europe. In 1945 he transferred 
to the Canadian army and spent a year based in 
Strasbourg analyzing intelligence on occupied Germany, 

and interrogating prisoners-of-war. Unsurprisingly, the 
post-war years seemed dull by comparison. “To be 
important, to have people pay attention to you,” he once 
said, “that is what counts in life.”^^ The KGB gave him 
the recognition which he craved. 

Hambleton’s KGB file reveals for the first time that he 
emerged from the war as a committed Communist and 
was talent- spotted by the Centre’s “Canadian friends.” 
Harry Baker, one of the Canadian Communist leaders, 
picked him out at Party meetings and later vouched for his 
ideological reliability. Another Party member, codenamed 
SVYASHCHENIK (“Priest”), carried out background 
checks on him. In 1952 Hambleton was recruited as a 
Soviet agent by the Ottawa resident, Vladimir 
Trofimovich Burdin, and given the codename RIMEN 
(later changed to RADOV). Two years later Hambleton 
moved to Paris where he began postgraduate research in 
economics at the Sorbonne. In 1956 he gained a job in the 
economics directorate of NATO, whose headquarters 
were then on the outskirts of Paris. Over the next five 
years Hambleton handed over what his KGB file 
describes as “a huge quantity of documents,” most of 
which were assessed by the Centre as “valuable or 
extremely valuable in content.”^^ Though Brik was 
unaware of his existence, Hambleton was eventually 
betrayed twenty years later by another Soviet illegal. 

Early in 1955, probably as part of its preparations to 

transfer Brik to the United States, the Centre made plans 
to move another illegal resident, codenamed ZHANGO, 
to Canada. ZHANGO was a 49-year-old Russian, Mikhail 
Ivanovich Filonenko, who had been given the genuine 
birth certificate, and had assumed the identity, of Joseph 
Ivanovich Kulda. Bom on July 7, 1914 in Alliance, Ohio, 
Kulda had emigrated to Czechoslovakia with his parents 
in 1922. Filonenko ’s wife, Anna Fyodorovna (codenamed 
successively MARTA and YELENA), took the identity of 
Mariya Navotnaya, a Czech bom on October 10, 1920 in 
Manchuria. Anna was Czech on her father’s side; before 
marrying Filonenko she had spent two years in 
Czechoslovakia perfecting her grasp of the language and 
improving her legend. Posing as Czechoslovak refugees, 
the Filonenkos were initially unsuccessful in their 
applications for Canadian visas, but with the help of the 
UN Refugees Commission (later the UNHCR) gained 
entry to Brazil in 1954.^^ In 1955 the Centre made plans 
to move Filonenko on to join Brik in Canada, where he 
was to have the new codename HECTOR. Brik duly 
informed the RCMP of HECTOR’S planned arrival.^^ 

The KGB was saved in the nick of time from a major 
intelligence disaster, which, it believed, would have 
included the arrest and show trial of Filonenko, by a 
walk-in to the Ottawa residency. On July 21, 1955 a 
heavily indebted 39-year-old RCMP corporal, James 
Morrison, who for some years had taken part in 
surveillance of the Ottawa embassy, got in touch with 

Burdin’s successor as resident, Nikolai Pavlovich 
Ostrovsky (codenamed GOLUBEV), and reported that 
Brik had been “turned” eighteen months earlier. He was 
acting, he claimed, out of sympathy for the USSR and a 
desire to prevent a repetition of the Gouzenko affair 
which had done so much damage to Soviet-Canadian 
relations ten years earlier. Morrison’s request for 5,000 
dollars, however, provides a better indication of his 
motives. Unknown to Ostrovsky, he had already been 
caught embezzling RCMP funds with which he hoped to 
pay off the debts caused by his taste for high living. 
Remarkably, instead of being sacked, Morrison was 
allowed to refund the money he had stolen. Ironically, he 
was to use money from the KGB to repay the RCMP.^^ 
The Centre initially suspected that the intelligence from 
Morrison (later code-named FRIEND) was an elaborate 
“provocation” by the RCMP, but decided to interrogate 
Brik in Moscow. Fortunately for the KGB, it had already 
been decided in June that Brik would travel to the Soviet 
Union for a holiday and reunite with his wife later in the 
summer. Though understandably nervous at the thought 
of returning to Moscow, he appears to have been 
confident of his ability to continue to outwit the KGB.^^ 
Before leaving Canada, Brik was briefed by Charles 
Sweeny of the RCMP and Leslie Mitchell, the SIS liaison 
officer in Washington, and asked to find out what he 
could about the fate of Burgess and Maclean, as well as to 

identify as many KGB officers as possible during his 
visit. They told him that if he needed assistance in 
Moscow it would be provided by the British SIS, since 
Canada had no foreign intelligence service. He was given 
details of one rendezvous point with an SIS officer, the 
location of two dead letter-boxes and signal sites to 
indicate when a DLB had been filled. If it became 
necessary to arrange an escape, SIS would leave in a DLB 
a short-wave radio, money, a pistol with silencer, false 
Soviet passports for himself and his wife, the internal 
travel documents needed to go to the town of Pechenga 
near the Soviet-Norwegian border and a map showing 
where to cross the frontier.^ ^ 

The Centre took great care not to arouse Brik’s 
suspicions before his departure. His first stop, arranged in 
June, was in Brazil, where he was due to meet Filonenko 
(HECTOR) on August 7. Filonenko was warned not to 
attend the meeting, but the prearranged rendezvous was 
kept under KGB observation. When Brik arrived on 
August 7, the KGB watchers reported that he had two 
companions, thus providing strong circumstantial 
evidence that he was now a double agent. Apparently 
undeterred by Filonenko ’s failure to meet him, Brik 
continued to Moscow via Paris and Helsinki. The 
residents in both capitals were ordered to give him a 
friendly welcome and discuss with him the travel 
arrangements for his return to Canada. A KGB strong-arm 
man was, however, sent to Finland in case Brik had any 

last-minute doubts about going to Moscow. If necessary, a 
Soviet agent in the Finnish police agreed to arrange for 
his expulsion to the Soviet Union.^^ 

On August 19, 1955 Brik arrived at Moscow airport 
and was immediately arrested. He at first denied that he 
was a double agent, but his file records that he 
subsequently broke under “pressure” and “told all.”^^ His 
confession confirmed everything reported to the Ottawa 
residency by James Morrison (FRIEND), who was then 
paid the 5,000 dollars he had asked for. Morrison 
volunteered for further payment what the Centre 
considered “valuable” information about the organization, 
personnel and operations of the RCMP and, in particular, 
its security service.^^ 

On September 4, 1956, at a closed session of the 
Military Collegium of the Supreme Court, Brik was 
sentenced to fifteen years in prison. The fact that he 
escaped the death penalty was presumably due to his 
cooperation in what his file describes as “an operational 
game.” Brik was not allowed to meet any member of the 
SIS station in the Moscow embassy, probably for fear that 
he would blurt out what had happened to him, but 
instructed to arrange a rendezvous which he did not keep. 
By keeping the rendezvous site under surveillance, the 
KGB was able to identify Daphne (later Baroness) Park, 
the member of the British embassy who turned up there, 
as an SIS officer. During the “operational game” Brik was 

allowed to live at home with his family in order to try to 
give SIS the impression that he was still at liberty. The 
KGB discovered, probably by bugging his apartment, that 
he tried unsuccessfully to persuade his wife to flee 

Morrison continued for three years to work as a Soviet 
agent. Including the 5,000 dollars he received for 
betraying Brik, he was paid a total of 14,000 dollars by 
the KGB. The Centre, however, became increasingly 
dissatisfied with the quality of the information he 
supplied. In September 1955 Morrison was posted to 
Winnipeg as part of a unit investigating drug smuggling 
from the United States, and lost much of his previous 
access to RCMP intelligence. His last meeting with a 
Soviet controller took place on December 7, 1957. 
Morrison asked for help in paying off a debt of 4,800 
dollars. The deputy resident in Ottawa, Rem Sergeevich 
Krasilnikov (ARTUR), however, paid him only 150 
dollars and told him that he would need to arrange a 
transfer to Ottawa and get better access to RCMP 
intelligence if he wished to earn more money. Morrison 
failed to turn up to his next pre-arranged meeting with 
Krasilnikov and broke off further contact with the KGB. 
In 1958 the Ottawa residency discovered from press 
reports that Morrison had been dismissed from the RCMP 
and given a two-year suspended sentence for fraud.^^ 

Though Morrison’s warning in 1955 had helped to 
contain the damage done to KGB operations by Brik’s 

twenty-one months as a double agent, that damage was 
none the less considerable. The Centre was forced to 
abandon its plan for a second illegal residency in the 
United States based on Brik and Filonenko. In addition to 
betraying five KGB agents, Brik had also identified to the 
RCMP a number of KGB officers in the Ottawa legal 
residency, all of whom were withdrawn from Canada.^^ 

ANOTHER PLAN BY the Centre to establish a further 
illegal residency in the United States also collapsed in the 
mid-1950s. The intended illegal resident was Vladimir 
Vasilyevich Grinchenko (codenamed RON and KLOD), 
who had taken the identity of Jan Bechko, the son of a 
Slovak father and a Ukrainian mother. Since 1948 
Grinchenko and his wife, Simona Isaakovna Krimker 
(codenamed MIRA), had been based in Buenos Aires, 
where in 1951 they had gained Argentinian citizenship. In 
1954 the Centre planned to transfer them to the United 
States. At the last moment, however, it was discovered 
that the FBI had obtained Grinchenko ’s fingerprints while 
he was working as an agent on a Soviet ship visiting 
North America. Grinchenko was hurriedly redeployed to 
France, where, a few months later, his career as an illegal 
was ended by what his file describes as “a gross breach of 
security.” In August 1955 his Argentinian passport, 
French residence permit, student card and expense 
account were all stolen from his hotel room in Paris. So 
was the photograph of, and a letter in Russian from. 

another KGB illegal codenamed BORIS. Both 
Grinchenko and BORIS were hurriedly recalled to 

Though the Centre did not yet realize it, its one 
established American residency was by now also in 
trouble. Unlike Makayev (HARRY), Brik (HART) and 
Grinchenko (KLOD), “Willie” Fisher (MARK), the 
illegal resident in New York, was a paragon of both self- 
discipline and ideological dedication.^^ His chief 
assistant, Reino Hayhanen, however, was to prove even 
less reliable than Brik. 

Hayhanen had taken the identity of a “live double,” 
Eugene Nikolai Maki, who had been bom in the United 
States in 1919 to a Finnish- American father and a New 
York mother, and at the age of eight had emigrated with 
his parents to the Finnish- speaking Soviet Republic of 
Karelia. In 1938 Maki had been arrested on suspicion of 
espionage but had been released, given the codename 
DAVID and employed by the Interior Ministry to inform 
on the families of other Karelian victims of the Terror. In 
1949 Maki surrendered his birth certificate to Hayhanen, 
who spent most of the next three years in Finland taking 
over Maki’s identity with the help of a Finnish 
Communist, Olavi Ahman, who had been recmited as a 
Soviet agent in 1939.^^ 

On October 20, 1952 Hayhanen, now codenamed VIK, 
arrived in New York on board the Queen Mary, and spent 

most of the next two years establishing his new identity, 
collecting his salary from dead letter-boxes in the Bronx 
and Manhattan and periodically drawing attention to 
himself by heavy drinking and violent quarrels with his 
Finnish wife Hannah.^ ^ The Centre, doubtless unaware of 
Hayhanen’s disorderly behavior, sent him congratulations 
on his “safe arrival” in a microfilm message hidden inside 
a hollowed-out nickel. Like Makayev a year or so earlier, 
Hayhanen mislaid the nickel, which in the summer of 
1953 was used, possibly by Hayhanen himself, to buy a 
newspaper from a Brooklyn newsboy. The newsboy 
accidentally dropped the nickel in a stairway and was 
amazed to see it break in two and a minute microfilm drop 
out. He handed both the coin and the microfilm to the 
New York police, who passed them on to the FBI. 
Though it was some years before the number groups in 
the microfilm message could be decrypted, the fact that 
they had been typed on a Cyrillic typewriter helped to 
alert the Bureau to the presence in New York of a Soviet 
illegal. It is highly unlikely that VIK informed the 
Centre that the coin and microfilm were missing. 

In the summer of 1954 Hayhanen at last began work as 
Fisher’s assistant. One of his first tasks was to deliver a 
report from a Soviet agent in the United Nations 
secretariat in New York, a French economist codenamed 
ORIZO, to a dead letter-box for collection by the New 
York legal residency. ORIZO ’s report probably 
concerned two American nuclear physicists whom he had 

been instructed to cultivate. The report, however, never 
arrived. Doubtless alarmed at this breach of security, 
ORIZO asked to stop working for the KGB, but was 
ultimately persuaded to carry on.^^ 

Though disturbed by the weakness of Hayhanen’s 
tradecraft, Fisher failed to grasp that he was an alcoholic 
fraudster who posed a serious threat to the future of his 
residency. During a visit to Bear Mountain Park in the 
spring of 1955, Fisher and Hayhanen buried 5,000 dollars 
which Hayhanen was later supposed to deliver to the wife 
of Morton Sobell, a convicted Soviet spy and member of 
the Rosenberg spy ring, who had been sentenced to thirty 
years in jail. Hayhanen later reported, ‘T located Helen 
Sobell and gave her the money and told her to spend it 
carefully.” In fact, he kept the 5,000 dollars for himself. 

Early in 1956 the police were called to the home of the 
“Makis” home at Peekskill in Hudson Valley, where they 
found both Hayhanen and his wife drunk; Hayhanen had a 
deep knife wound in his leg, which he claimed was the 
result of an accident. Later that year he was found guilty 
of drunken driving and had his license suspended. In 
January 1957 Hayhanen was due to return to Moscow on 
leave. Initially, he could not bring himself to go, 
fabricating a series of stories to justify his delay. He first 
told Fisher that he was being tailed by three men, then 
claimed that the FBI had taken him off the Queen Mary, 
on which he had booked a passage. The unsuspecting 

Fisher told Hayhanen to leave the country as soon as 
possible to escape FBI surveillance and gave him 200 
dollars for his travel expenses. On April 24 Hayhanen set 
sail aboard La Liberte for France. Arriving in Paris on 
May Day, he made contact with the KGB residency and 
was given another 200 dollars to complete his journey to 
Moscow. Four days later, instead of returning to Russia, 
he entered the American embassy in Paris, announced that 
he was a KGB officer and began to tell his story. 

Though the KGB did not discover the defection until 
August, it warned Fisher, probably in late May or early 
June, that Hayhanen had failed to arrive in Moscow, and 
instructed him as a precaution to leave the United States, 
using a new set of identity documents. Fisher disobeyed 
his orders and stayed. He was arrested early on the 
morning of June 21 while staying in a New York hotel on 
East 28th Street and flown to the Alien Detention Facility 
in McAllen, Texas, for questioning.^^ After a few days 
spent stonewalling his questioners Fisher finally admitted 
that he was a Russian who had been living under false 
identities in the United States, and gave as his real name 
that of a deceased friend and KGB colleague, Rudolf 
Ivanovich Abel. The Centre, Fisher knew, would realize 
what had happened as soon as it saw the name Abel on 
the front pages of the American newspapers.^^ 

FISHER’S ARREST MARKED a major strategic defeat 

for KGB operations against the Main Adversary. The 
Centre’s early Cold War strategy in the United States had 
been based on the creation of an illegal network which 
would run major agents such as Hall and Philby, and 
eventually penetrate the administration to approximately 
the level achieved during the Great Patriotic War. Fisher’s 
failure, however, appears to have left the KGB without a 
single illegal residency in the United States. Instead of 
adopting a more realistic strategy with far more limited 
aims, the Centre persisted with its plan to revive the era of 
the Great Illegals and blamed its initial failure on a series 
of operational errors. 

The Centre’s investigations of the cases of Makayev 
(HARRY), Brik (HART) and Hayhanen (VIK) all 
revealed flaws in the selection of the first generation of 
Cold War illegals. Hayhanen’ s file in the KGB archives 
contains many warning signs which should have been 
evident well before he was despatched to the United 
States in 1952. In both the Soviet Union and Finland he 
had a record for getting into debt and borrowing money, 
as well as for unusually complicated sexual liaisons. 
Though already married in the Soviet Union, Hayhanen 
entered into a bigamous marriage in Finland — ^without 
informing the Centre beforehand — with Hannah Kurikka, 
with whom he later lived in the United States. The report 
on Hayhanen prepared for the leadership of the KI in 
1949, however, glossed over his character weaknesses 
and insisted that his operational failings would be 

rectified during training. Mitrokhin noted after reading 
Hayhanen’s file in the KGB archives: 

It was obvious that the KGB wanted to keep VIK in 
intelligence work no matter what, regardless of signs 
that he was in trouble, because they did not want to 
expose any of their operations, because the training 
of a replacement would be difficult and time- 
consuming, and because they regretted wasting so 
much time and money on VIK.^^ 

Hayhanen’s Russian wife was informed of his 
defection, divorced him and went back to her maiden 
name, Moiseyeva. In 1957 the chairman of the KGB 
received a letter from a woman named M. M. Gridina 
asking for news of Hayhanen, who, she said, was the 
father of her 12-year-old son. The KGB was less frank 
with Gridina than with Moiseyeva. She was told that the 
KGB had never employed Hayhanen and did not know 
his whereabouts, but had heard rumors that he had 
committed a serious crime against the Soviet state and 
was wanted by the police. Gridina replied that she would 
tell her son that his father had been killed fighting the 
Germans during the Great Patriotic War.^^ In fact, 
Hayhanen died in the United States in 1961. At the time it 
was alleged that he had been killed in a car accident on 
the Pennsylvania turnpike; in reality he seems to have 
died from cirrhosis of the liver.^^ 

On November 15, 1957 the 55-year-old “Rudolf Abel” 
was sentenced to thirty years in jail. His American lawyer, 
James Donovan, was struck by “Abel’s” “uncanny calm” 
as he listened to what was, in effect, a life sentence: “This 
cool professional’s self-control was just too much for 
me. ”64 “Abel’s” wife, Ilya, who had last seen her husband 
when he returned on leave to Moscow in the summer of 
1955, made less attempt to disguise her feelings. She 
wrote bitterly to the Centre that it was not simply a 
question of waiting for twenty-five or thirty years but “I 
do not know if my husband will ever return.” For the past 
seven years she had worked as a harpist in a circus 
orchestra; however, when she criticized the KGB after her 
husband was jailed, she was made redundant on the 
pretext that the orchestra no longer needed a harpist. The 
Centre rejected Ilya “Abel’s” pleas for help in finding 
another job, but granted her a pension of 51 roubles a 

At Atlanta Penitentiary, in Georgia, where “Rudolf 
Abel” had been sent to serve his sentence, he became 
friends with two other convicted Soviet spies. He played 
chess with Morton Sobell, whose wife had failed to 
receive the 5,000 dollars embezzled by Hayhanen.^^ 
“Abel” also received a number of small favors from Kurt 
Ponger, an Austrian-bom American in the penitentiary’s 
dental section who had been sentenced in 1953 to a term 
of five to fifteen years’ imprisonment for conspiracy to 

commit espionage while serving in the US army in 
Austria. Ponger’s file in the KGB archives reveals that he 
had been a Soviet agent since 1936, but that after his 
arrest the Centre had wrongly concluded that he was a 
double agent whose arrest had been deliberately staged by 
the Americans in order to discredit the Soviet Union in 
Austrian public opinion. “Abel” had no doubt that Ponger 
was a genuine Soviet agent and later tried to persuade the 
KGB to give Ponger financial assistance after he was 
freed in September 1962.^^ 

“Abel” served only just over four years of his sentence. 
On February 10, 1962 he was exchanged on the 
Glienicker Bridge, which linked West Berlin with 
Potsdam, for the shot-down American U-2 pilot Gary 
Powers. The exchange was treated by the KGB as a 
major operation, codenamed LYUTENTSIA, coordinated 
by Vladimir Trofimovich Burdin, the former resident in 
Ottawa. An undercover KGB group was stationed in West 
Berlin to watch for signs of American military activity in 
the area of the bridge. On the bridge itself, hidden in the 
offices of the East German Customs Service, was a KGB 
armed operational group. Close at hand, but also out of 
view from the Western side of the bridge, was another 
armed group which had accompanied Powers from 
Potsdam for the exchange. At the Soviet checkpoint, a 
specially trained officer from the 105th Regiment was put 
in command of a detail of submachine gunners. The East 
Germans provided a reserve unit of twenty men armed 

with submachine guns and grenades. 

The Centre congratulated itself on the fact that its 
absurdly large, concealed military presence had gone 
almost unobserved. “Abel’s” lawyer was more 
impressed by the fact that the American guard who 
accompanied his client on to the bridge was “one of the 
largest men I have ever seen. He must have been six feet 
seven inches tall and weighed perhaps three hundred 
pounds.”^ ^ After the exchange of “Abel” for Powers, the 
Glienicker Bridge became famous during the Cold War as 
the “Bridge of Spies.” The KGB file on operation 
LYUTENTSIA records that its total nonmilitary cost 
(food, train tickets, hotel bills, various items for “Abel” 
and his wife and daughter, and a celebration dinner) came 
to 5,388 marks 90 pfennigs. Walter Ulbricht, the East 
German leader, did not share the Centre’s satisfaction at 
the success of the operation. He complained to the Soviet 
ambassador, Pervukhin, on February 15 that his 
government had not been adequately informed and that 
the failure to include East German police among Powers’s 
escort showed lack of respect for the sovereignty of the 
German Democratic Republic. Ulbricht followed his 
verbal protest with a diplomatic note citing other Soviet 

In the United States, “Abel’s” paintings and prints 
became collectors’ items. The Attorney-General, Robert 
Kennedy, asked the Soviet embassy to find out whether 

“Abel” would be willing to give the US government a 
portrait of his brother, President Kennedy, which he had 
painted in Atlanta Penitentiary, and allow it to be hung in 
the White House. The Centre suspected a plot. The 
proposal to display “Abel’s” portrait in the White House 
was, it believed, a provocation, though it was not certain 
what exactly it was intended to provoke. Robert 
Kennedy’s request was turned down.^^ 

“Abel” received an unpublicized hero’s welcome on his 
return to Moscow, being received in turn by Vladimir 
Yefimovich Semichastny, chairman of the KGB, 
Aleksandr Mikhailovich Sakharovsky, head of the KGB 
First Chief (Foreign Intelligence) Directorate, and General 
Pyotr Ivashutin, head of the GRU.^^ At Semichastny’ s 
prompting, “Abel” wrote to Khrushchev to thank him 
personally for the supposed part he had taken in securing 
his release: “... I am especially touched by the fact that, 
amidst the great variety of your Party and governmental 
concerns, you found the time to think about me as well.” 

Though it suited the Centre, for the sake of its own 
reputation in the Party hierarchy, to portray “Abel’s” 
mission to the United States as an operational triumph by 
a dedicated Chekist, brought to a premature conclusion 
only by an act of treachery for which he bore no 
responsibility, it was well aware that in reality he had 
achieved nothing of real significance. He had been 
arrested in 1957 only because he had disobeyed 
instructions to leave the country after Hayhanen had 

failed to return to MoscowJ^ 

The Centre took advantage of the fact that “Abel” was 
portrayed in the American media as a master spy of heroic 
stature. That impression was strengthened by the 
sympathetic portrayal of him in Strangers on a Bridge, an 
account by his lawyer of his trial, imprisonment and 
exchange for Powers published in 1964. Donovan made 
clear that he “admired Rudolf as an individual,” and 
quoted Allen Dulles, Director of Central Intelligence from 
1953 to 1961, as telling him, “I wish we had three or four 
just like him in Moscow right now ...” He ended his book 
by printing a letter “Abel” had sent him from Moscow, 
enclosing two rare, sixteenth-century, vellum-bound Latin 
editions of Commentaries on the Justinian Code. “Please 
accept them,” “Abel” wrote, “as a mark of my gratitude 
for all that you have done for me.”^^ 

All this was music to the Centre’s ears.^^ The myth of 
the master spy Rudolf Abel replaced the pedestrian reality 
of Fisher’s illegal residency. The inconvenient lack of 
heroic exploits to celebrate was glossed over by the 
assurance that, though there were many of them, they 
remained too secret to celebrate in public. The real 
“Willie” Fisher, however, became increasingly 
disillusioned. After his return to Moscow, he was given a 
chair in a comer of the FCD Illegals Directorate but was 
denied even a desk of his own. When a friend asked him 
what he did, he replied disconsolately, “I’m a museum 




Part 2: Walk-ins and Legal Residencies in the Early Cold 


The KGB’s chief successes against the Main Adversary 
during the presidencies of Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953- 
61) and John F. Kennedy (1961-3) derived not from its 
grand strategy for new illegal residencies, which 
collapsed for several years after FISHER’ s arrest, but 
from a series of walk-ins. The most important was 
probably a CIA “principal agent” in West Berlin and 
Germany, Alexsandr (“Sasha”) Grigoryevich Kopatzky, 
alias “Koischwitz” (successively codenamed ERWIN, 
HERBERT and RICHARD), who had offered himself for 
recruitment by Soviet intelligence in 1949.^ Trained by 
the KGB in secret writing and microphotography, he was 
paid a total of 40,000 West German and 2,117 East 

German marks during the 1950s, as well as being 
rewarded for his success with several gold watches.^ 

Kopatzky was employed at one of the focal points of 
American intelligence operations. The CIA’s West Berlin 
station was situated only a few miles from the greatest 
concentration of Soviet forces anywhere in the world. 
One of Kopatzky ’s chief tasks was to find East German 
women willing to have sex with Soviet soldiers and act as 
CIA agents. By taking an active part in the station’s 
attempt to recruit Soviet personnel and encourage 
defections, he was able to find numerous opportunities to 
sabotage its operations. Among the wealth of intelligence 
which Kopatzky provided were the identities of more than 
a hundred American intelligence officers and agents in 
East Germany; some were arrested while others were 
turned into double agents. He also assisted a number of 
KGB operations to “dangle” bogus agents intended to 
deceive the CIA station. In 1952 he helped to organize the 
bogus defection of Soviet agent VIKTOR, who was later 
employed by the Voice of America radio station and 
supplied what Kopatzky’ s file terms “valuable 

After Kopatzky was briefly imprisoned for drunken 
driving in 1954, his name was changed by the CIA to 
“Igor Orlov,” so that his criminal record would not appear 
on his application for US citizenship.^ In 1957, with his 
cover as a CIA (but not Soviet) agent largely blown in 

Berlin, Orlov was taken to Washington with his family 
and given further operational training by the Agency. He 
then returned to Europe to take part in various CIA 
operations in Germany and Austria.^ In I960 the CIA at 
last began to suspect that “Orlov” was working for the 
KGB. A later damage assessment at the Centre concluded 
that the extraordinary number of KGB officers who had 
been in direct contact with him — over twenty during the 
last decade — might have helped to place him under 
suspicion.^ In order to prevent Orlov defecting before the 
case against him had been established, the CIA promised 
him a new job with the Agency in Washington, sacked 
him on his arrival in January 1961 and began an intensive 
investigation.^ Orlov made contact with his new Soviet 
controller, I. P. Sevastyanov, an operations officer at the 
Washington residency, got a job as a truck driver and 
heard nothing for several years from either the CIA or the 
FBI. In 1964 he bought a picture-framing gallery in 
Alexandria, Virginia, paid for in part, no doubt, by his 
earnings from the KGB.^ 

By the time he opened his gallery, Orlov may well have 
felt confident that the case against him could never be 
proved. His confidence evaporated in the spring of 1965 
when the FBI arrived on his doorstep, spent several days 
searching his home, questioned his wife Eleonore and 
summoned him to take a polygraph test. Orlov seems to 
have panicked. Under surveillance and unable to make 

covert contact with the KGB, he went into the Soviet 
embassy on 1 6th Street through a rear door, vainly hoping 
to enter unobserved.^ The Washington residency arranged 
with him an exfiltration plan which was agreed to by 
Moscow. Encouraged by “Abel’s” star rating as a master 
spy and his American lawyer’s affectionate memoir of 
him, the Centre intended to turn the exfiltration into a 
publicity stunt. It planned a press conference in Moscow 
at which Orlov would be presented as a Soviet illegal who 
had performed heroic deeds behind the German lines on 
the eastern front during the Second World War and later 
penetrated the CIA. Orlov would then publish his life 
story, which would be used as an “active measure” to 
glamorize the KGB and denigrate its Main Adversary. 

The plan, however, had to be called off. Orlov’s wife 
flatly refused to go to Moscow with their two young sons, 
so he decided to tough it out in Washington. Though the 
FBI kept the “Orlov” file open, they were never able to 
prove a case against him. Their investigation, like that of 
the CIA, however, was based on one false assumption. 
After his defection in December 1961, KGB Major 
Anatoli Golitsyn had provided some clues which helped 
to confirm suspicions about Orlov. Golitsyn correctly said 
that a Soviet spy whose real surname began with a K had 
been active in Berlin and West Germany, but wrongly 
said that his codename, rather than his real name, was 
SASHA. The CIA and FBI both wrongly concluded that 

Aleksandr (“Sasha”) Kopatzky, alias “Igor Orlov,” was 
agent SASHA. Orlov’s KGB file shows that he was at 
various stages of his career successively ERWIN, 
HERBERT and RICHARD, but never SASHA, and that 
he remained a Soviet agent until a few years before his 
death in 1982. After a press article in 1978 claimed that 
Orlov was a Soviet spy, the KGB broke off contact with 
RICHARD. In 1992, ten years after Orlov’s death, the 
Gallery Orlov, run by his widow, was still described by a 
Washington guide as “a hangout for espionage writers. 

West Berlin and West Germany, where Kopatzky (aka 
Orlov) had first offered his services to the KGB in 1949, 
were the KGB’s most successful recruiting grounds for 
disgruntled US military personnel. The most important 
was probably Robert Lee Johnson, codenamed GEORGE, 
a disaffected army sergeant and part-time pimp in West 
Berlin. In 1953 Johnson and his prostitute fiancee, 
Hedy, crossed into East Berlin and asked for political 
asylum. The KGB, however, persuaded Johnson to stay in 
the West, earn a second salary by spying for the Soviet 
Union and pay off his old scores against the US army. 
Despite his involvement in prostitution, alcohol abuse and 
gambling (not to mention espionage), Johnson succeeded 
in gaining employment as a guard from 1957 to 1959 at 
missile sites in California and Texas, where he purloined 
documents, photographs and, on one occasion, a sample 
of rocket fuel for the KGB.^^ 

Johnson’s most productive period as a Soviet agent 
began in 1961 when he was stationed as a guard in the US 
Armed Forces Courier Centre at Orly Airport, near Paris, 
one of the main nerve centers in the classified military 
communications system. Over the next two years he 
handed over 1,600 pages of top secret documents to his 
controller. Among them were ciphers and daily key-tables 
for the Adonis, KW-9 and HW-18 cipher machines; the 
operational plans of the US armed forces command in 
Europe; documents on the production of American 
nuclear weapons; lists and locations of targets in the 
Soviet Bloc; US intelligence reports on Soviet scientific 
research, aviation and missile development; and SIGINT 
evidence on the state of readiness of the East German Air 
Force. Collectively the documents provided an 
extraordinary and highly classified insight both into 
American forces in Europe and into what they knew about 
the forces of the Warsaw Pact.^^ Johnson was finally 
arrested in 1964 after a tip-off from the KGB defector 
Yuri Nosenko.^^ 

IN THE UNITED STATES itself the most remarkable 
KGB walk-ins during the Eisenhower presidency were 
two employees of the National Security [SIGINT] 
Agency, 31 -year-old Bemon F. Mitchell and 29-year-old 
William H. Martin. On September 6, 1960, in Moscow’s 
House of Journalists, Mitchell and Martin gave perhaps 
the most embarrassing press conference in the history of 

the American intelligence community. The greatest 
embarrassment was the public revelation that NS A had 
been decrypting the communications of some of the 
United States’ allies. Among them, said Martin, were 
“Italy, Turkey, France, Yugoslavia, the United Arab 
Republic [Egypt and Syria], Indonesia, Uruguay — that’s 
enough to give a general picture, I guess.” 

Though the defection of the two NS A employees was a 
spectacular publicity coup, Mitchell’s KGB file reveals 
that it fell some way short of the Centre’s expectations.^^ 
Somewhat surprisingly, Mitchell had been recruited by 
NS A in 1957 despite admitting to six years of “sexual 
experimentations” up to the age of nineteen with dogs and 
chickens. His gifts as a mathematician were presumably 
thought more important than his farmyard experiences. 
During Martin’s positive vetting, acquaintances variously 
described him as irresponsible and an insufferable egotist 
but — like his friend Mitchell — a gifted mathematician. 
Politically naive and socially inadequate, Mitchell and 
Martin were seduced by the Soviet propaganda image of 
the USSR as a state committed to the cause of peace 
whose progressive social system could offer them the 
personal fulfillment they had failed to find in the United 
States.^ ^ 

In December 1959, Mitchell flew from Washington to 
Mexico City, in defiance of NS A regulations, entered the 
Soviet embassy and asked for political asylum in the 

USSR, giving ideological reasons as the motive for his 
action.^^ The KGB residency made strenuous attempts to 
persuade him to stay on inside NS A as a defector- in- 
place, but without success. Mitchell agreed to a secret 
meeting with another KGB officer in Washington but 
maintained his insistence on emigrating to the Soviet 
Union with Martin. Once there, however, he promised to 
reveal all he knew about NS A. 

On June 25, 1960, at the beginning of three weeks’ 
summer leave, Mitchell and Martin boarded Eastern 
Airlines flight 307 at Washington National Airport, bound 
for New Orleans. There, after a brief stopover, they took 
another flight for Mexico City, stayed the night at the 
Hotel Virreyes, then caught a Cubana Airlines plane to 
Havana.^^ In July they were exfiltrated from Cuba to the 
Soviet Union. KGB codebreakers were disappointed in 
the amount of detailed knowledge of NS A cryptanalysis 
possessed by Mitchell and Martin. Their most important 
intelligence, in the Centre’s view, was the reassurance 
they were able to provide on NSA’s lack of success in 
breaking current high-grade Soviet ciphers.^^ However, 
the KGB similarly remained unable to decrypt high-grade 
US cipher sy stems. 

Security was so lax at NSA’s Fort Meade headquarters 
that no attempt was made to track Mitchell and Martin 
down until eight days after they had been due to return 
from their three- week vacation. Inside Mitchell’s house 

NS A security officers found the key to a safe deposit box, 
which Mitchell had deliberately left for them to find. 
Inside the box in a nearby bank they found a sealed 
envelope bearing a request, signed by both Mitchell and 
Martin, that its contents be made public. The envelope 
contained a lengthy denunciation of the US government 
and the evils of capitalism and a bizarre eulogy of life in 
the Soviet Union, including the claim that its emancipated 
women were “more desirable as mates. 

By decision no. 295 of the Communist Party of the 
Soviet Union, dated August 11, 1960, Mitchell and 
Martin were given political asylum and monthly 
allowances of 500 roubles each — about the same as their 
NS A salaries and well above Soviet salary scales. In the 
autumn Mitchell was given a job in the Institute of 
Mathematics at Leningrad University; Martin began 
doctoral research at the same institute. Both defectors 
quickly put their beliefs about the desirability of Soviet 
mates to the test. Mitchell married Galina Vladimirovna 
Yakovleva, a 30-year-old assistant professor in the piano 
music department of the Leningrad Conservatory. Martin, 
who changed his name to Sokolovsky, married a Russian 
woman whom he met on holiday on the Black Sea.^^ 

Within a few years the Centre found both Mitchell and 
Martin considerably more trouble than they were worth. 
Predictably, both defectors rapidly became disillusioned 
with life in the Soviet Union. Martin, whom the Centre 

regarded as the more impressionable of the two, was 
gullible enough to believe a tale concocted by the KGB 
that they had both been sentenced in absentia to twenty 
years’ hard labor by a closed session of the US Supreme 
Court. He was eventually shown a bogus copy of the 
judgment in order to persuade him to put all thought of 
returning home out of his mind. Mitchell was more 
skeptical and by the 1970s appeared determined to leave. 
As chairman of the KGB, Yuri Andropov gave personal 
instructions that under no circumstances was either 
Mitchell or Martin to be allowed to go, for fear of 
deterring other potential defectors from the West. In a 
further attempt to deter Martin he was shown an article by 
Yuri Semyonov in Izvestia claiming that American agents 
had been found in possession of poison ampoules, and 
was led to believe that these were intended for Mitchell 
and himself. Mitchell correctly suspected that the story 
had been fabricated by the KGB. Galina Mitchell was also 
anxious to leave, but the KGB put pressure on her mother 
to persuade Galina to change her mind. After their 
applications for visas had been rebuffed by Australia, 
New Zealand, Sweden and Switzerland, as well as the 
United States, the Mitchells told the Soviet authorities on 
March 29, 1980 that they had given up their attempts to 
emigrate.^^ But there were persistent reports afterwards 
that Mitchell was still trying to leave. 

FOR MOST OF the Cold War, the Washington and New 

York legal residencies had little success in providing the 
intelligence from inside the federal government which had 
been so plentiful during the Second World War. Their 
limitations were clearly exposed during the two years 
before the most dangerous moment of the Cold War, the 
Cuban missile crisis of 1962. 

The vacuum left by the lack of KGB high-grade 
political intelligence from the United States was partly 
filled by dangerous nonsense from elsewhere, some of 
which reflected the paranoid strain in Soviet analysis. On 
June 29, 1960 the KGB chairman, Aleksandr 

Nikolayevich Shelepin, personally delivered to 
Khrushchev an alarmist assessment of American policy, 
based on a misinformed report from an unidentified 
NATO liaison officer with the CIA: 

In the CIA it is known that the leadership of the 
Pentagon is convinced of the need to initiate a war 
with the Soviet Union “as soon as possible” ... Right 
now the USA has the capability to wipe out Soviet 
missile bases and other military targets with its 
bomber forces. But over the next little while the 
defense forces of the Soviet Union will grow ... and 
the opportunity will disappear ... As a result of these 
assumptions, the chiefs at the Pentagon are hoping to 
launch a preventive war against the Soviet Union. 

Khrushchev took the warning seriously. Less than a 

fortnight later he issued a public warning to the Pentagon 
“not to forget that, as shown at the latest tests, we have 
rockets which can land in a pre-set square target 13,000 
kilometers away.”^^ 

Moscow followed the presidential elections of 1960 
with close attention. Khrushchev regarded the Republican 
candidate, Richard Nixon, as a McCarthyite friend of the 
Pentagon hawks, and was anxious that Kennedy should 
win. The Washington resident, Aleksandr Semyonovich 
Feklisov (alias “Fomin”), was ordered to “propose 
diplomatic or propaganda initiatives, or any other 
measures, to facilitate Kennedy’s victory.” The residency 
tried to make contact with Robert Kennedy but was 
politely rebuffed. 

Khrushchev’s view of Kennedy changed after the 
CIA’s abortive and absurdly inept attempt to topple Fidel 
Castro by landing an American-backed “Cuban brigade” 
at the Bay of Pigs in April 1961. In the immediate 
aftermath of the Cuban debacle, Kennedy despairingly 
asked his special counsel, Theodore Sorensen, “How 
could I have been so stupid?”^^ The young president, 
Khrushchev concluded, was unable to control the “dark 
forces” of American capitalism’s military-industrial 
complex. At a summit meeting with Kennedy at Vienna 
in June, Khrushchev belligerently demanded an end to the 
three-power status of Berlin and a German peace treaty by 
the end of the year. The two superpowers seemed set on a 

collision course. Kennedy said afterwards to the journalist 
James Reston: 

I think [Khrushchev] did it because of the Bay of 
Pigs. I think he thought anyone who was so young 
and inexperienced as to get in that mess could be 
taken, and anyone who got into it and didn’t see it 

through had no guts. So he just beat the hell out of 



On July 29, 1961 Shelepin sent Khrushchev the outline 
of a new and aggressive global grand strategy against the 
Main Adversary designed to “create circumstances in 
different areas of the world which would assist in 
diverting the attention and forces of the United States and 
its allies, and would tie them down during the settlement 
of the question of a German peace treaty and West 
Berlin’s proposal.” The first part of the plan was to use 
national liberation movements around the world to secure 
an advantage in the East- West struggle and to “activate by 
the means available to the KGB armed uprisings against 
pro- Western reactionary governments.” At the top of the 
list for demolition Shelepin placed “reactionary” regimes 
in the Main Adversary’s own backyard in Central 
America, beginning in Nicaragua where he proposed 
coordinating a “revolutionary front” in collaboration with 
the Cubans and the Sandinistas. Shelepin also proposed 
destabilizing NATO bases in western Europe and a 

disinformation campaign designed to demoralize the West 
by persuading it of the growing superiority of Soviet 
forces. On August 1, with only minor amendments, 
Shelepin’s masterplan was approved as a Central 
Committee directive.^^ Elements of it, especially the use 
of national liberation movements in the struggle with the 
Main Adversary, continued to reappear in Soviet strategy 
for the next quarter of a century. 

During the Kennedy administration, however, the role 
of the KGB in Washington was less important than that of 
the GRU. In May 1961 GRU Colonel Georgi Bolshakov, 
operating under cover as head of the Washington bureau 
of the Tass news agency, began fortnightly meetings with 
the Attorney-General, Robert Kennedy. Bolshakov 
succeeded in persuading Robert Kennedy that, between 
them, they could short-circuit the ponderous protocol of 
official diplomacy, “speak straightly and frankly without 
resorting to the politickers’ stock-in-trade propaganda 
stunts” and set up a direct channel of communication 
between President Kennedy and First Secretary 
Khrushchev. Forgetting that he was dealing with an 
experienced intelligence professional who had been 
instructed to cultivate him, the President’s brother became 
convinced that “an authentic friendship grew” between 
him and Bolshakov: 

Any time that he had some message to give to the 

President (or Khrushchev had) or when the President 

had some message to give to Khrushchev, we went 
through Georgi Bolshakov ... I met with him about 
all kinds of things. 

Despite Bolshakov’s success, GRU intelligence 
assessment of American policy was abysmal. In March 
1962 it produced two dangerously misinformed reports 
which served to reinforce the KGB’s earlier warning that 
the Pentagon was planning a nuclear first strike. The GRU 
claimed that in the previous June the United States had 
made the decision to launch a surprise nuclear attack on 
the Soviet Union in September 1961, but had been 
deterred at the last moment by Soviet nuclear tests which 
showed that the USSR’s nuclear arsenal was more 
powerful than the Pentagon had realized. The woefully 
inaccurate Soviet intelligence reports of Washington’s 
plans for thermonuclear warfare coincided with a series of 
real but farcically inept American attempts to topple or 
assassinate Moscow’s Cuban ally, Fidel Castro — actions 
ideally calculated to exacerbate the paranoid strain in 
Soviet foreign policy. 

In March 1962 Castro urged the KGB to set up an 
operations base in Havana to export revolution across 
Latin America. Then, in May, Khrushchev decided to 
construct nuclear missile bases in Cuba — the most 
dangerous gamble of the Cold War. He was partly 
motivated by his desire to impress Washington with 
Soviet nuclear might and so deter it from further (non- 

existent) plans for a first strike. At the same time he 
intended to make a dramatic gesture of support for the 
Cuban revolution. 

The Soviet gamble was taken in the belief that 
Washington would not detect the presence of the Cuban 
missile sites until it was too late to do anything about 
them. That belief was mistaken for two reasons. First, 
high-altitude U-2 spy planes were able to photograph the 
construction of the missile bases. Secondly, American 
intelligence analysts were able to make sense of the 
confusing U-2 photographs because they possessed plans 
of missile site construction and other important 
intelligence secretly supplied by Colonel Oleg 
Vladimirovich Penkovsky, a spy in the GRU run jointly 
by the British SIS and the CIA. All the main American 
intelligence reports on the Cuban bases during the missile 
crisis were later stamped IRONBARK, a codeword 
indicating that they had made use of Penkovsky’ s 

As the construction of nuclear missile bases in Cuba 
began, Bolshakov continued to provide reassurance, 
probably as part of a deliberate deception strategy, that 
Khrushchev would never countenance such an aggressive 
policy. When U-2 spy planes revealed the existence of the 
bases in mid-October, while they were still in the course 
of construction, thus beginning the Cuban missile crisis, 
Robert Kennedy turned on Bolshakov. ‘T bet you know 
for certain that you have your missiles in Cuba,” he 

remonstrated. Bolshakov denied it. According to 
Sorensen, “President Kennedy had come to rely on the 
Bolshakov channel for direct private information from 
Khrushchev, and he felt personally deceived. He was 
personally deceived. 

At the moment in the Cold War when the Kremlin most 
urgently needed good intelligence from Washington, the 
KGB residency was unable to provide it. During the 
Second World War Soviet agents had penetrated every 
major branch of the Roosevelt administration. The Centre 
had been better informed on some important aspects of 
American policy (notably the MANHATTAN project) 
than Roosevelt’s vice-presidents or most members of his 
cabinets. During the Cuban missile crisis, by contrast, 
the Washington residency’s sources were limited to 
agents and contacts in the press corps and foreign 
embassies (especially those of Argentina and Nicaragua). 
Some of the intelligence which Feklisov, the resident, sent 
to Moscow was simply gossip. He had no source capable 
of penetrating the secret deliberations of EXCOMM, 
Kennedy’s closest advisers who assembled in the cabinet 
room on October 16 and met in daily session for the next 
thirteen days until the crisis was resolved. Aleksandr 
Sakharovsky, the head of the FCD, wrote dismissively on 
several of Feklisov’ s telegrams at the height of the missile 
crisis, “This report does not contain any secret 

The relative lack of influence of the KGB on 
Khrushchev’s policy during the crisis also reflected the 
limitations of its chairman. In December 1961 the 
influential Aleksandr Shelepin had been succeeded as 
chairman by his less able protege, Vladimir Semichastny, 
who knew so little about intelligence and was so 
unattracted by the post offered to him that he accepted it 
only under pressure from Khrushchev. Khrushchev made 
clear that his main reason for appointing Semichastny was 
to ensure the political loyalty of the KGB rather than to 
benefit from his advice on foreign policy. There is no sign 
in any of the files noted by Mitrokhin that Semichastny 
ever followed Shelepin ’s example of submitting to 
Khrushchev ambitious grand strategies for combating the 
Main Adversary. During the missile crisis Semichastny 
had not a single meeting with Khrushchev and was never 
invited to attend meetings of the Presidium (an enlarged 
Politburo which for the previous decade had been the 
main policy-making body). 

Nor did Khrushchev ever ask for, or receive from, the 
KGB any assessment of the likely American response to 
the placing of nuclear missile bases in Cuba.^^ As foreign 
intelligence chief, Sakharovsky seems to have had little 
insight into American policy-making. Though apparently 
a competent bureaucrat in the Soviet mold, his first-hand 
experience of the outside world was limited to Romania 
and other parts of eastern Europe. His melancholy 
expression was probably, as one of his subordinates has 

written, “due to the enormous pressures of the job.”^^ 
Among the pressures was the need to conform to the 
highest standards of political correctness. The FCD rarely 
submitted assessments save at the specific request of the 
Foreign Ministry, the International Department of the 
Central Committee or the Presidium. Most of what it 
termed its “analyses” were, in reality, little more than 
digests of information on particular topics which 
generally avoided arriving at conclusions for fear that 
these might conflict with the opinions of higher authority. 
The supreme authority during the missile crisis was 
Khrushchev himself rather than the Presidium. To a 
remarkable degree he both determined Soviet policy and, 
like Stalin before him, acted as his own chief intelligence 

Intelligence did, however, have some influence on 
Khrushchev’s policy during the final stages of the crisis. 
On October 25 he indicated to the Presidium that, in order 
to resolve the crisis, it might ultimately be necessary to 
dismantle the missile bases in return for a US guarantee 
not to invade Cuba. Khrushchev, however, was not yet 
ready to make such a proposal. He changed his mind 
during the night of October 25-6 after a GRU report that 
US Strategic Air Command had been placed on nuclear 
alert. Hitherto he had hoped to save face by obtaining the 
removal of US missile bases in Turkey in return for 
stopping the construction of Soviet missile sites in Cuba. 
On the morning of October 26, however, wrongly fearing 

that an American invasion of Cuba might be imminent, he 
dictated a rambling and emotional plea for peace to 
Kennedy which asked for a US guarantee of Cuban 
territorial integrity but made no mention of the Turkish 
missile bases. Within twenty-four hours, Khrushchev had 
changed his mind. On October 27, having concluded that 
an American invasion was not imminent after all, he sent 
another letter insisting that the Turkish bases must be part 
of the deal.^^ 

Shortly after Khrushchev had sent his second letter, 
Soviet air defense in Cuba, apparently as a result of a 
failure in the chain of command, shot down an American 
U-2 spy plane over Cuba, killing the pilot. Khrushchev 
panicked. Reports that Kennedy was to make a speech on 
national television at noon on October 28 wrongly 
persuaded him that the President might be about to 
announce an invasion of Cuba. Khrushchev gave in and 
accepted Kennedy’s terms: a unilateral withdrawal of “all 
Soviet offensive arms” from Cuba. To make sure his 
message reached Kennedy in time, he ordered it to be 
broadcast over Radio Moscow.^^ 

THE HUMILIATION OF the Soviet climbdown at the 
end of the missile crisis, which led two years later to 
Khrushchev’s overthrow in a Kremlin palace coup, was 
strengthened in the Centre by the discovery of a series of 
penetrations by, and defections to, the CIA. In December 
1961 a KGB officer. Major Anatoli Mikhailovich 

Golitsyn, walked into the American embassy in Helsinki 
and was exfiltrated to the United States. In September 
1962 the KGB arrested GRU Colonel Oleg Penkovsky, 
who for the past eighteen months had been providing 
high-grade intelligence to the British and Americans. 

The damage report on Golitsyn produced the usual 
stereotyped denunciation of his motives. Since it was 
impossible to criticize either the KGB or the Soviet 
system, it followed that the basic cause of all defections 
was the moral failings of the defectors themselves — in 
particular, “the virus of careerism” unscrupulously 
exploited by Western intelligence services: 

The treason of Golitsyn, an ambitious and vain man, 
provides a typical example of a person representing 
the tribe of careerists. In the mid-1950s he reacted 
painfully to a demotion in his position: he could not 
tolerate having his mistakes and blunders pointed out 
and commented on. Emphasizing his exceptional 
qualities, he said that only bad luck had prevented 
him from becoming a highly successful senior 
officer during the Stalin period. [Late in 1961] 
Golitsyn made persistent attempts to learn the 
contents of the evaluation written on him for 
Moscow, which was negative. The [Helsinki] 
Residency believes that he succeeded in learning its 
essence and, knowing from the experience of others 
that he could expect a serious talk in the personnel 

department and a demotion in rank, he defected to 
the United States. 

Like all defectors, Golitsyn was given an insulting 
codename — in his case, GOR-BATY (“Hunchback”).^ ^ 
Measures taken to discredit him included the arrest of a 
Soviet smuggler (codenamed MUSTAFA), who was 
persuaded to implicate Golitsyn in contraband operations 
across the Finnish border. An article in the newspaper 
Sovetskaya Rossiya on September 27, 1962 condemned 
Golitsyn’s (fictitious) involvement with smugglers. 

Despite the Centre’s attempt to belittle Golitsyn, the 
damage assessment after his defection concluded that he 
had been able to betray a wide range of intelligence to the 
CIA on the operations of most of the “Lines” 
(departments) at the Helsinki and other residencies, as 
well as KGB methods of recruiting and running agents. 
Between January 4 and February 16, 1962 the Centre sent 
instructions to fifty-four residents on the action required 
to limit the damage to current operations. For the time 
being, all meetings with important agents were to be 
suspended and contact limited to “impersonal means” 
such as dead letter-boxes.^^ 

As well as providing important intelligence on KGB 
methods and leads to a number of Soviet agents, however, 
Golitsyn also confused the CIA with a series of 
increasingly extravagant conspiracy theories. He 

persuaded the head of the CIA counter-intelligence staff, 
James Angleton, that the KGB was engaged in a gigantic 
global deception, and that even the Sino- Soviet split was a 
charade to deceive the West. Golitsyn was later to 
maintain that the Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia was 
also a KGB description.^^ It did not occur to the Centre 
that Golitsyn’s defection, by infecting a small but 
troublesome minority of CIA officers with his own 
paranoid tendencies, would ultimately do the Agency 
more harm than good. 

In November 1963 Aleksandr Nikolayevich 
Cherepanov of the KGB Second Chief Directorate 
(internal security and counter-intelligence), sent the 
American embassy in Moscow a packet of highly 
classified papers dealing with the surveillance and 
entrapment of diplomats and other foreigners in Russia, 
together with a note offering his services to the CIA. In 
the ambassador’s absence, the deputy head of mission 
feared that the documents were part of a KGB 
provocation. Though the head of the CIA station was 
allowed to photograph the documents, the originals, 
despite his protests, were returned to the Russians. 
Cherepanov fled from Moscow but was arrested by KGB 
border guards on the frontier with Turkestan on December 
17, 1963. He admitted during interrogation that the 
operational secrets he had revealed to the Americans 
included the use of “spy dust” (metka), special chemicals 
applied to suspects’ shoes to facilitate tracking. 

Cherepanov was sentenced to death at a secret trial in 
April 1964. The Centre’s damage assessment of the case 

It is not possible to determine why the Americans 
betrayed Cherepanov. Either they suspected that his 
action was a KGB provocation or they wanted to 
burden the KGB with a lengthy search for the person 
who had sent the package to the embassy. 

Though the CIA was not responsible for Cherepanov’s 
betrayal, it was shortly to make another, even more 
serious error. In February 1964 Yuri Ivanovich Nosenko, 
a KGB officer serving on the Soviet disarmament 
delegation in Geneva, who had begun working for the 
Agency in June 1962, defected to the United States. 
Nosenko ’s CIA debriefers, however, wrongly concluded 
that he was a KGB plant. 

Unaware of the CIA’s horrendous misjudgement, the 
Centre regarded Nosenko ’s defection as a serious setback. 
Its damage assessment began with the usual character 
assassination, claiming that Nosenko (henceforth 
codenamed IDOL), had been infected — like Golitsyn — 
with the “virus of careerism:” 

Nosenko, who lusted for power, did not hide his 
ambitions and obtained a high position. The 
leadership of Department 1 at Headquarters will not 

forget Nosenko’s hysterical reaction when he was 
informed of their plans to promote him from deputy 
chief to chief of section [otdeleniye]. “The chief of 
the directorate has promised that I will replace the 
head of the department [otdeiy he shouted 
shamelessly. The characteristics of careerism were 
evident in many curious facets of his life. When he 
became the deputy chief of another department, 
Nosenko was ashamed of his rank [KGB captain], 
which was below that normally associated with his 
position. He would return unsigned any documents 
with “Captain” on them, and would only sign 
documents on which his perceptive subordinates had 
not indicated his rank.^^ 

Throughout the Cold War, the KGB had much greater 
success in collecting scientific and technological 
intelligence (S&T) on the Main Adversary than 
penetrating the federal government. In 1963 the S&T 
department of the FCD was given enhanced status as 
Directorate T.^^ Most of its tasking came from the 
Military — Industrial Commission (VPK), which was 
responsible for overseeing weapons production, and 
was obsessed with American armaments and advanced 
technology — almost to the exclusion of the rest of the 
world. In the early 1960s over 90 percent of 
VPK requirements concerned the Main Adversary. 

Among the American S&T obtained by the KGB during 
these years was intelligence on aircraft and rocket 
technology, turbojet engines (from a source in General 
Electric), the Phantom jet fighter, nuclear research, 
computers, transistors, radio electronics, chemical 
engineering and metallurgy. S&T agents in the United 
States identified in Mitrokin’s notes (though with few 
details of their accomplishments) include: STARIK and 
BOR (or BORG), who worked as research scientists for 
the US air force; URBAN, identified by Mitrokhin as a 
department head at Kellogg (probably the M. W. Kellogg 
Technology Company in Houston), who had served as an 
agent since 1940;^^ BERG, a senior engineer probably 
employed by Sperry-Rand (UNIVAC);^^ VIE, who 
worked for the chemical manufacturers Union Carbide; 
FELKE, an agent in Du Pont de Nemours, the chemical, 
biomedical and petroleum conglomerate; USACH, of the 
Brookhaven National Laboratory at Upton, New York, 
which carried out government research on nuclear energy, 
high-energy physics and electronics; and NORTON of 
RCA, which manufactured electronic, 

telecommunications and defense equipment. 

During the Cold War, unlike the Second World War, 
the dwindling band of American Communists and fellow 
travelers rarely had access to the S&T sought by the 
KGB. Most S&T agents recruited in the United States 
seem to have spied for money. Two such mercenary spies 

were caught by the FBI during the mid-1960s: John 
Butenko, who worked for an ITT subsidiary which did 
classified work for Strategic Air Command, and Colonel 
William Whalen, who provided intelligence on missiles 
and atomic weapons. In 1963 the New York residency 
supplied 114 classified S&T documents, totaling 7,967 
pages, and 30,131 unclassified documents, totaling 
181,454 pages, as well as 71 “samples” of state-of-the-art 
technology and other items. Washington sent the Centre 
37 classified documents (3,944 pages) and 1,408 
unclassified documents (34,506 pages). 

Some of the best American S&T, however, came from 
residencies outside the United States. Possibly the most 
important was in the field of computer technology, where 
the Soviet Union had fallen far behind the West. The 
experimental Soviet BESM-1, produced in 1953, was 
judged by a Western expert to be “a respectable 
computer” for its time, with a capability superior to that of 
the UNIVAC-1 introduced in 1951. The BESM-2, 
however, which went into production in 1959, was only a 
third as fast as the IBM-7094, introduced in 1955, and 
one-sixteenth as fast as the IBM-7090 of 1959. Because 
of the embargo on the export of advanced technology to 
the Soviet Union maintained by COCOM (the embargo 
coordinating committee of NATO members and Japan), 
the computers legally imported from the West were barely 
more powerful than their Soviet counterparts.^^ During 

the 1960s the attempt to catch up with Western computer 
technology was based largely on espionage. 

The KGB’s main source of computer S&T was, almost 
certainly, IBM, which manufactured over half the 
computers in use around the world in the mid-1960s. 
Within IBM, the most important KGB agent identified in 
Mitrokhin’s notes was ALVAR, a naturalized French 
citizen bom in Tsarist Russia, whose motives — ^unlike 
most Americans in the S&T network — may well have 
been ideological. Probably the KGB’s longest-serving 
Line X agent, ALVAR had been recmited by the NKVD 
in 1935. By the 1950s he held a senior post at IBM’s 
European headquarters in Paris, and in 1958 was awarded 
the Order of the Red Banner for his work as a Soviet 
agent. ALVAR carried on working for the KGB until his 
retirement in the late 1970s, when he was awarded a 
Soviet pension of 300 dollars a month in addition to his 
company pension — a certain sign of the Centre’s 
appreciation of him. 

In the early 1960s the Paris residency supplied 
intelligence on American transistor manufacture which, 
according to KGB files, both improved the quality of 
Soviet transistors and brought forward the start of mass 
production by one and a half years. It also provided S&T 
on computer networking systems which were later 
imitated by the Soviet defense ministry. The most likely 
source of the intelligence on both transistor production 
and computer networks was ALVAR. From 1964, 

however, the Paris residency also had an agent, 
codenamed KLOD, in Texas Instruments.^^ 

Among other agents who provided technology and 
S&T from IBM was a Nordic national, codenamed 
KHONG. From 1960 to 1966 KHONG worked for a 
European affiliate of IBM, and purchased embargoed 
materials and samples worth 124,000 dollars, which he 
passed on to the KGB. In both 1961 and 1962 he was 
questioned by the local US embassy on the reasons for his 
purchases, but appears to have satisfied the embassy on 
both occasions. KHONG’ s motives, unlike ALVAR’ s, 
seem to have been mainly financial. He was initially paid 
10 percent commission, subsequently raised to 15 percent, 
on his purchases from IBM. KHONG later worked for the 
United Nations in a number of countries. The fact that he 
had a total of twelve controllers during his career as a 
Soviet agent is evidence that the Centre considered him an 
important source. By the time contact with him ceased in 
1982, a year after his retirement, the KGB had held about 
150 meetings with him.^^ 

The Soviet Union often found it more difficult to use 
than to collect the remarkable S&T which it collected 
from American businesses, most of them defense 
contractors. In 1965 the Politburo criticized the fact that 
there was a time lag of two to three years before Soviet 
industry began exploiting S&T.^^ Even the computer 
technology stolen by the KGB did no more than, at best. 

stabilize the striking gap between East and West The 
gap was not to be explained by any lack of expertise 
among Soviet scientists and mathematicians. As one 
Canadian expert wrote in 1968, “Westerners who know 
Soviet computer scientists can testify to their competence 
and their thorough knowledge of the field. The 
continued backwardness of the Soviet computer industry, 
despite the expertise of Soviet scientists and the 
remarkable S&T obtained by the KGB, reflected the 
cumbersome inefficiency of the Soviet command 
economy, in which technological innovation had to run 
the gauntlet of a complex and unresponsive state 

Rather than accept any share of responsibility for the 
failure to make efficient use of much of the S&T acquired 
from the West, the VPK chairman, L. V. Smirnov, blamed 
the KGB for not obtaining enough of it. In a letter to the 
KGB chairman, Semichastny, in April 1965, Smirnov 
complained that over 50 percent of the top priority S&T 
tasks assigned to the KGB between two and four years 
earlier had still not been fulfilled. Semichastny replied 
that steps had been taken to improve the KGB’s ability to 
meet its assignments, but criticized the VPK for 
underestimating the current difficulty of collecting S&T 
from American targets. Since some of the same scientific 
and technological developments were taking place in 
Britain, France, Japan and West Germany, the VPK 
should pay greater attention to targets in these countries. 


In the following year groups of Line X officers 
operating against American targets were stationed in 
residencies in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Denmark, 
Finland, India, Israel, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, 
Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Arab Republic 
and a number of other Third World countries 

Despite Smirnov’s criticisms, the KGB’s performance 
in S&T collection was, on balance, a success story. As 
Smirnov himself acknowledged, the FCD fulfilled almost 
half of the VPK’s demanding tasks against the Main 
Adversary with a few years at most. Measured against the 
spectacular successes of twenty years earlier, however, 
when the Centre had received the plans of the atomic 
bomb — the world’s greatest scientific secret — from two 
different agents and important nuclear intelligence from 
several more, even the successes of the early 1960s were 
bound to seem somewhat disappointing. The decline was 
irreversible. Most of the Soviet spies who penetrated 
every major branch of the Roosevelt administration had 
been ideological agents, seduced by the myth-image of 
Stalin’s Russia as the world’s first worker-peasant state, 
pointing the way to a new Socialist society. During the 
early Cold War, even among American radicals, the 
vision faded. Most of the successors to the wartime 
ideological moles were mercenary walk-ins and corrupt 
employees of defense contractors willing to sell their 
companies’ secrets. 

Though the KGB could not bring itself to accept it, the 

golden age of the high-flying American ideological agent 
had gone, never to return. 



Baltimore: by the Clayton men’s clothing store on North 

Boston: the music hall; by the State Hilton Hotel. 
Chicago: the Chicago Institute of Fine Arts buildings; by 
the movie theater on State Street; by the Lake State movie 
theater; and by the men’s tie store on Randolph Street. 
Cleveland: by the Khipp movie theater. 

Indianapolis: by the notice board on Market Street. 

Los Angeles: by the newspaper stand “Out of Town 
Papers” on Las Palmas Avenue; by the entrance to the 
movie theaters Viltem and Star Theater; by the display 
windows on Hollywood Boulevard, the furniture store 
MacMahon Brasses; near the entrance to the Hotel 

Newark: by the Newark train station, on the bench by the 
monument to Sergeant Donan A. Bazilone. 

New Haven: by the Taft Hotel; by the Sherman movie 

New York (Bronx): by the David Marcus movie theater; 

by the restaurant Savarin; by the display windows of the 
store Wilma’s Party Center; under the awning of the 
Middletown Inn Restaurant at 3188 Middletown Road. 
Philadelphia: by the Randolph and Stanton movie 
theaters; by the Silvanna Hotel. 

Portland: by the parking lot on the main street; by the 
Parker movie theater. 

Rochester: by the Randolph movie theater. 

Sacramento: by the Tower movie theater, and near the 
advertisements at the cafe Camilia Lodge. 

St. Paul: by the display windows of the St. Paul Hotel; by 
the Strand movie theater. 

San Francisco: by the Metro movie theater on Union 
Street; by Fosters Restaurant, Simms Cafe, and Comptons 
Cafe (in the downtown area); the Canterbury Hotel. 
Seattle: by the movie theater Orpheum Cinema on Fifth 
Avenue; by the City Motel on Queen Anne Avenue. 
Syracuse: by the Cates movie theater. 

Union City, New Jersey: by the A&P supermarket. 
Washington area: the telephone booth by the entrance to 
the Hot Shoppes Restaurant in the center of Hyattsville, a 
Washington suburb; by the entrance to the grocery store 
in the Aspen Hill Shopping Center on Georgia Avenue in 
Maryland, six miles north of Washington. 



Part 3: Illegals after ‘‘Abel” 

In 1966 the lack of high-grade political intelligence from 
the United States led the KGB Collegium, a senior 
advisory body headed by the Chairman, to call for a major 
improvement in intelligence operations against the Main 
Adversary. The chief method by which it proposed to 
achieve this improvement, however, was one which had 
already been attempted unsuccessfully during the 1950s: 
the creation over the next few years of a network of illegal 
residencies which would take over the main burden of 
intelligence operations from the legal residencies in New 
York, Washington and San Francisco.^ 

Not until six years after the arrest of “Rudolf Abel” in 
1957 did the KGB succeed in establishing another illegal 
residency on the territory of the Main Adversary. Though 

there were brief missions to or through the United States 
by a number of illegals, the first to have taken up 
residence who is recorded in the files noted by Mitrokhin 
was KONOV, a Muscovite of Greek origin bom in 1912, 
who took the identity of Gerhard Max Kohler, a Sudeten 
German bom in Reichenberg (now part of the Czech 
Republic) in 1917. KONOV was a war veteran and radio 
specialist who worked as head of a laboratory in 
Leningrad until his recmitment by the KGB in April 
1955. He spent the next four years in East Germany, 
working as an engineer, establishing his German cover 
identity and studying both his next destination. West 
Germany, and his ultimate target, the United States. The 
KGB, which specialized in arranged marriages for its 
illegals, found him a German wife and assistant 
previously employed by the Stasi, codenamed EMMA, 
who took the identity of Ema Helga Maria Decker, bom 
on September 2, 1928 near Breslau (now in Poland).^ 

In October 1959, posing as East German refugees, 
KONOV and EMMA crossed to the ERG, where 
KONOV found work as a radio engineer. In 1962 he 
began corresponding with American radio and electronics 
companies and obtained several job offers. After visiting 
the United States as a tourist, he accepted employment in 
a company which in 1963 enabled EMMA and himself to 
obtain immigrant visas. KONOV seems to have been the 
first post-war illegal sent to the United States to 
concentrate on scientific and technological intelligence 

(S&T). Specializing in electronic measuring devices, he 

took part in a number of international exhibitions and — 

according to his file — made several inventions. 

KONOV’s S&T was so highly rated by the Centre that it 

won him two KGB awards. On June 20, 1970, after living 

for seven years in the United States as Gerhard and Ema 

Kohler, KONOV and EMMA became American citizens, 

swearing their oaths of allegiance in Newark Courthouse. 

By the time KONOV entered the United States in 1963, 
two other KGB illegals were already established in 
Canada, both intended by the Centre for subsequent 
transfer to the Main Adversary. Nikolai Nikolayevich 
Bitnov (codenamed ALBERT) had arrived in Canada in 
1961. The basis of the legend painstakingly constructed 
for Bitnov was a fabricated version of the life history of 
Leopold Lambert Delbrouck, who had been bom in 
Belgium in 1899, emigrated to Russia with his family at 
the age of eight and died there in 1946. In the fictitious 
version of Delbrouck’ s career constmcted by the Centre, 
however, Delbrouck had married a Romanian woman, set 
up home in Gleiwitz in Germany (now Gliwice in Poland) 
and then moved to Romania, where he died in 1931. 
While in Gleiwitz, the couple had supposedly had a son, 
Jean Leopold Delbrouck, whose identity Bitnov assumed. 
Bitnov’ s wife, Nina (codenamed GERA), took over the 
identity of a “dead double,” Yanina Batarovskaya, who 
had been bom in France in 1928 and died in Lithuania in 


Early in 1956, now age thirty, Bitnov moved with his 
wife to Romania to establish his legend with the help of 
the Romanian intelligence service, the DGSP. In April 
1957, using identity documents forged by the Centre, they 
succeeded in obtaining passports from the Belgian 
diplomatic mission in Bucharest.^ Six months later, they 
moved to Geneva so that Bitnov could enroll in a business 
school and learn how to operate as a businessman in the 
West. From late 1958 to the summer of 1961 the couple 
lived in Liege, establishing Belgian identities and 
obtaining new passports which, unlike those issued in 
Bucharest, made no reference to their residence in 
Romania and were thus less likely to arouse suspicion in 
North America. In July 1960, the Bitnovs emigrated to 

The Centre probably intended that Bitnov should move 
on after a few years to the territory of the Main 
Adversary. Initially, however, he was ordered, like Brik 
(HART) a decade earlier, to establish himself under 
business cover in Canada. Despite his course in Geneva, 
however, Bitnov proved a hopeless businessman. First, he 
invested 2,000 dollars of KGB funds in a business which 
bought up land with mineral rights and sold them to 
mining companies. After two years the company went 
bankrupt. Then Bitnov spent 2,000 dollars purchasing a 
directorship in a car dealership which went into 

liquidation only two months later. Unwilling to pour good 
money after bad into any more of his investment schemes, 
the Centre ordered him to look for paid employment. 
After a period on unemployment benefits, Bitnov found a 
poorly paid job as a bookkeeper which, he complained, 
left him little or no time for intelligence work. Having 
achieved nothing of any significance as an illegal, he was 
recalled to Moscow in 1969.^ The following year, he was 
given a pension and sent into early retirement at the age of 
only forty-five.^ The fact that the Centre persevered with 
Bitnov for so long was further evidence of the strength of 
its determination to establish a network of illegal 
residencies in North America. 

Bitnov was unaware that in February 1962, only seven 
months after his own arrival in Canada, another illegal, 
codenamed DOUGLAS, had landed with his wife and 
four-year-old son at Montreal airport. DOUGLAS was 
Dalibar Valoushek, a 3 3 -year-old Czech border guard 
recruited by the KGB with the assistance of its 
Czechoslovak counterpart, the StB.^ He took the identity 
of a Sudeten German, Rudolf Albert Herrmann, who had 
died in the Soviet Union during the Second World War. 
According to Valoushek’ s legend, Herrmann had survived 
the war and made his home in East Germany, then taken 
refuge in the West to escape the Communist regime. His 
wife, Inga (codenamed GERDA), a Sudeten German 
whose family had moved to the GDR, took the identity of 

Ingalore Noerke, a “dead double” who had been killed 
during the wartime bombing of Stettin. At the end of 1957 
the Valousheks fled to the West, loudly proclaiming their 
hatred of the East German regime. They spent the next 
four years strengthening their legends as anti-Communist 
refugees while Valoushek learned how to run a small 

Once in Canada, Valoushek proved a much better 
businessman than Bitnov — though not quite as successful 
as published accounts of his career (which do not give his 
real identity) have suggested. Soon after his arrival in 
Canada he bought Harold’s Famous Delicatessen in 
downtown Toronto, which he and Inga, as “Rudi” and 
“Inga Herrmann” made a popular rendezvous for staff 
from the nearby studios of the Canadian Broadcasting 
Company. After two years Valoushek sold the 
delicatessen, got a job as a CBC sound engineer and took 
courses in film-making. His first major assignment was 
on a film advertising campaign for the Liberal Party. By 
the mid-1960s he had a reputation as a popular and 
successful film-maker. At the 1967 Liberal convention, 
which elected Pierre Trudeau as party leader, Trudeau 
leaned off the stage and playfully popped grapes into 
“Rudi Herrmann’s” mouth. Though Valoushek’s 
business appeared prosperous, however, his KGB file 
reveals that the Centre had to provide 10,000 dollars to 
cover trading losses. 

In 1967 Valoushek became the controller of the KGB’s 
most important Canadian agent, Hugh Hambleton 
(RADOV).^^ After losing his job at NATO on security 
grounds in 1961 (though without any charges being 
brought against him), Hambleton had spent the next three 
years taking a PhD at the London School of Economics, 
returning to Canada in 1967 to become a professor in the 
economics department at Laval University in Quebec. 
Once back in Quebec, Hambleton’ s contact with the KGB 
dwindled. He met an officer from the legal residency 
three times in Ottawa, on each occasion talking to him in 
a car parked near the main post office. Hambleton, 
however, disliked his new controller, who tried 
unsuccessfully to persuade him to apply for a job in 
External Affairs. After an interval during which 
Hambleton failed to turn up for meetings in Ottawa, 
Valoushek was sent to Quebec to renew contact with him. 
During a congenial dinner at the Chateau Frontenac 
overlooking the Saint Lawrence river, the two men 
established a mutual rapport and Hambleton agreed to 
resume his career as a Soviet agent. Over the next few 
years, he traveled to a great variety of destinations, 
combining research on academic projects with work for 
the KGB. He remained in touch with Valoushek until 
1975, meeting him in Trinidad and Haiti, as well as 
Canada and the United States. But Hambleton ’s travels 
were so far flung that it required a considerable number of 

KGB officers to maintain contact with him.^^ 

In 1968, a year after becoming Canadian citizens, 
Valoushek and his family were transferred to the United 
States to found a new illegal residency in the New York 
area. His first KGB contact was IVANOVA, a young 
Russian woman who, having formerly worked as an agent 
of the KGB Second Chief Directorate inside the Soviet 
Union, had been allowed (perhaps even encouraged) to 
marry an American visitor and had moved to the United 
States. IVANOVA gave Valoushek 15,000 dollars to 
establish himself and had several further secret meetings 
with him to pass on instructions from the Centre and 
letters from his Czech relatives. With the funds 
provided by IVANOVA, Valoushek made a 12,000 dollar 
downpayment on a secluded house fifteen miles north of 
New York, in Hartsdale,^^ joined the New York Press 
Club and began work as a freelance cameraman and 
commercial photographer. His first major assignment 
from the KGB was to penetrate the Hudson Institute, a 
leading New York think tank. The Centre had been 
excited by a report from Hambleton giving information on 
the Institute’s members and believed it to be a major 
potential source of intelligence on American global 
strategy and defense policy. 

IN MAY 1962, three months after Valoushek’ s arrival, 
BOGUN, another Soviet illegal, had landed in Canada. 

The Centre intended that, after establishing himself in 
Canada, BOGUN, like DOUGLAS, should transfer to the 
territory of the Main Adversary. BOGUN was Gennadi 
Petrovich Blyablin, a 38-year-old Muscovite who had 
taken the identity of Peter Carl Fisher, bom in Sofia in 
1929 of a German father and Bulgarian mother. Like 
Valoushek, he perfected his German legend by living in 
East Germany, then moved to the West in 1959, posing as 
a refugee. The Centre allowed him three years to settle, 
legalize his status and find work in West Germany before 
sending him to Canada. On March 9, 1961 Blyablin 
married his KGBAPPROVED partner, LENA, in 
Hanover. In December they obtained their West German 
passports before setting off for Canada five months 

While Valoushek found cover as a film-maker, 
Blyablin established himself as a freelance press 
photographer — a profession which provided numerous 
opportunities and pretexts for traveling around Canada 
and further afield. In Febmary 1965, following the 
Centre’s instmctions, Blyablin and his wife moved to the 
United States on immigrant visas. His main task over the 
next three years was photographing and providing 
intelligence on major military, scientific and industrial 
targets around the United States. 

In 1968, however, Blyablin attracted the attention of 
the FBI during his investigation of major targets in the 
United States and had to be hurriedly recalled, together 

with his wife, to Moscow.^ ^ It was later discovered that 
some of his correspondence with the Centre, routed via 
agent SKIP, had been intercepted. SKIP was Karo 
Huseinjyan, an ethnic Armenian bom in Cypms in 1919 
was Karo Huseinjyan, an ethnic Armenian bom in Cypms 
in 1919 who owned a jewelry shop in Beimt and provided 
a forwarding service for a number of illegals. A Centre 
investigation disclosed that letters from Blyablin, dated 
April 7 and July 27, 1968, sent via Huseinjyan, had been 
steamed open.^^ 

A year before Blyablin’ s sudden recall, RYBAKOV, 
another Soviet illegal, had arrived in the United States. 
RYBAKOV was Anatoli Ivanovich Rudenko, whose 
early career was strikingly similar to Blyablin’ s. Like 
Blyablin, Rudenko was a Muscovite bom in 1924 who 
had assumed a bogus German identity, spent several years 
in East Germany working on his legend and then moved 
to the West. Rudenko was given the identity documents of 
Heinz Walter August Peder, bom in Kalisch on 
November 6, 1927.^^ While in East Germany he had 
trained as a piano tuner and repairer. After crossing to 
West Germany in April 1961, posing as a refugee from 
Communism, he found a job with the world-famous piano 
manufacturers Steinway in Hamburg. Though Rudenko 
was told that his ultimate destination was the United 
States, in 1964 he was sent to work with a musical 
instmment company in London, probably in order to 

accustom him to an English-speaking environment.^^ 

Rudenko’s period in London almost ended in disaster. 
Once, while returning from Brussels, where he had 
received his maintenance allowance from a KGB 
operations officer, he was stopped at Heathrow and 500 
pounds were found on him which he had failed to declare. 
Rudenko was fortunate to find a sympathetic customs 
officer. The money, he pleaded, was his life savings, the 
product of many sacrifices over the years. He was allowed 
to keep the 500 pounds and no action was taken against 

In 1966 he went to New York on a tourist visa and 
visited the Manhattan showrooms of Steinway & Sons on 
West 57th Street, who offered Rudenko a job with a 
salary of 80 dollars a week. With Steinway ’s assistance, 
he gained a work permit and traveled to the United States 
on his German passport in July 1967. In New York 
Rudenko became piano tuner to a series of celebrities — 
among them Nelson Rockefeller, Governor of New York, 
unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination in 
1964 and future vice-president of the United States.^^ 
Rockefeller was regarded in Moscow as the “patron” of 
Henry Kissinger, who in January 1969 became President 
Nixon’s National Security Adviser (and later Secretary of 
State).^^ While professor at Harvard during the 1960s, 
Kissinger had served as Nelson’s paid part-time adviser 
and speechwriter, receiving a severance pay gift of 50,000 

dollars when he joined the Nixon administration. “He has 
a second-rate mind but a first-rate intuition about people,” 
Kissinger once said of Rockefeller. “I have a first-rate 
mind but a third-rate intuition about people. 

To the Centre it must have seemed that Rudenko had 
penetrated one of the innermost sanctums of the capitalist 
system, which the Rockefeller family had seemed to 
epitomize for three generations. Nelson’s second wife, 
“Happy,” said of him in the mid-1960s, “He believed he 
could have it all. He always had.” The six square miles of 
Nelson’s Westchester estate were one of the world’s most 
valuable properties and contained some of the most 
spectacular art treasures in any private collection. 
Theodore White once offered to exchange his Manhattan 
townhouse on East 64th Street for a single Tong Dynasty 
horse from the Westchester collection.^^ Though 
Rudenko’s occasional visits to Westchester impressed the 
Centre, however, they achieved nothing of significance. 

Penetrating the houses of the great and good appears to 
have become almost an end in itself for Rudenko, even 
though his access to some of new York’s most 
distinguished pianos failed to give him any intelligence 
access. Among the well-known musicians whose pianos 
he tuned was the world’s most famous pianist, the 
Russian-bom Vladimir Horowitz, who for the past twenty 
years had lived on East 94th Street near Central Park. In 
1965, after a twelve-year hiatus caused by a mixture of 
psychiatric problems and colitis attacks, Horowitz had 

returned to the concert platform at the age of sixty-two, 
becoming, with Luciano Pavarotti, one of the two most 
highly paid classical musicians in the world. The recital 
instrument which he chose for his comeback was the 
Steinway concert grand numbered CD 186, which had to 
be tuned to an exact 440-A with a key pressure of 45 
grams instead of the usual 48 to 

Overimpressed by Rudenko’s access to the pianos of 
new York’s celebrities, the Centre made detailed plans for 
him to become head of a new illegal residency whose 
chief targets would be the US mission to the United 
Nations and a New York think tank, concentrating on 
relatively junior employees with access to classified 
information — in particular, single women whose 
loneliness made them sexually vulnerable and poorly paid 
employees with large families who were open to financial 

Just as the new residency was about to be established in 
New York, however, the Centre noticed what Rudenko’s 
file refers to as “irregularities” and “suspicious behavior” 
and lured him back to Moscow in April 1970 for what he 
was probably told were final instructions before 
beginning work. Exactly what the Centre suspected is not 
known, but, since Rudenko was interrogated under 
torture, it may well have feared he was working as a 
double agent for the FBI. What he revealed was much less 
serious, but bad enough to end his career as an illegal. 
Soon after arriving in Hamburg in 1961, Rudenko had 

met BERTA, a 32-year-old ladies’ hairdresser, whom he 
had suggested recruiting as a Soviet agent. The Centre 
refused and ordered him to break off all relations with her. 
During his interrogation in 1970, Rudenko admitted that 
he had secretly defied his instructions, married BERTA 
and taken her with him to New York. Worse still, he had 
taken down radio messages from the Centre and decoded 
them in her presence. Her parents had discovered that he 
was a spy, but believed he was working for East 
Germany. Rudenko also admitted that he was having an 
affair with a female accountant (codenamed MIRA) in 

As part of the Centre’s damage limitation exercise it 
instructed Rudenko to write to both BERTA and MIRA 
letters designed to convince both of them and, if 
necessary, the FBI that he had left the United States 
because of the breakdown of his marriage. He told 
BERTA that he had found it impossible to live with her 
any longer and urged her not to waste time trying to track 
him down since she would never find him. In the letter to 
MIRA, Rudenko was allowed to express his love for her 
and pain at their separation within what his file quaintly 
describes as “permissible bounds” and his pain at the 
separation from her. But, he explained somewhat 
unconvincingly, his sudden departure from the United 
States had been the only way to escape from his wife. 
Both letters were posted by the KGB in Austria, giving no 
other indication of where Rudenko was living. 

Brik (HART), Hayhanen (VIK), Grinchenko (KLOD), 
Bitnov (ALBERT), Blyablin (BOGUN) and Rudenko 
(RYBAKOV) underscored the Centre’s difficulty in 
finding illegals capable of fulfilling its expectations in 
North America. Fisher/“Abel” (MARK) was, in many 
ways, the exception who proved the rule. He was able to 
survive, if not actually succeed, as an illegal resident in 
the United States because of a long experience of the 
West which went back to his Tyneside childhood, an 
ideological commitment which probably predated even 
the Bolshevik Revolution and a thirty-year career as a 
foreign intelligence officer, most of it under Stalin, from 
which he had emerged scarred but battle-hardened. Other 
Cold War illegals in the United States were 
psychologically less well prepared for the stress of their 
double lives. All had to come to terms with a society 
which was strikingly different from the propaganda image 
of the Main Adversary with which they had been 
indoctrinated in Moscow. Unlike KGB officers stationed 
in legal residencies, illegals did not work in a Soviet 
embassy, where they were constantly subject to the 
ideological discipline imposed by the official hierarchy. 
They also had to cope with a much greater degree of 
personal isolation, which they could diminish only by 
friendships and sexual liaisons which were liable to 
undermine their professional discipline. No wonder that 

some illegals, like Rudenko, had affairs which they tried 
to conceal from the Centre; that others, like Hayhanen, 
took to drink and embezzlement; and that others, like 
Bitnov, found it difficult to survive in an alien market 

Illegals had also to face unreasonable, and ultimately 
impossible, expectations from the Centre. Until almost the 
end of the Cold War, no post-war Soviet leader, KGB 
chairman or foreign intelligence chief had either any 
personal experience of living in the West or any realistic 
understanding of it. Accustomed to strong central 
direction and a command economy, the Centre found it 
difficult to fathom how the United States could achieve 
such high levels of economic production and 
technological innovation with so little apparent regulation. 
The gap in its understanding of what made the United 
States tick tended to be filled by conspiracy theory. The 
diplomat, and later defector, Arkadi Shevchenko noted of 
his Soviet colleague: 

Many are inclined to the fantastic notion that there 
must be a secret control center somewhere in the 
United States. They themselves, after all, are used to 
a system ruled by a small group working in secrecy 
in one place. Moreover, the Soviets continue to chew 
on Lenin’s dogma that bourgeois governments are 
just the “servants” of monopoly capital. “Is not that 
the secret command center?” they reason.^^ 

However much the Centre learned about the West, it 
never truly understood it. Worse still, it thought it did. 

THE CENTRE’S FAITH in the future of illegal 
operations in the United States was remarkably unaffected 
by the many failures and disappointments of the 1950s 
and 1960s. At the beginning of the 1970s the Centre still 
had high hopes of KONOV and DOUGLAS. It also had 
remarkably ambitious projects for the next decade. A plan 
drawn up in the late 1960s envisaged establishing and 
putting into operation between 1969 and 1975 ten illegal 
residencies in the United States, two in Canada, two in 
Mexico, and one each in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, 
Uruguay and Venezuela. For use in wartime and other 
major crises it was also planned to create five “strategic 
communications residencies” to maintain contact with the 
Centre if legal residencies were unable to operate: two in 
the United States, one in Canada and two in Latin 

This visionary program was to prove hopelessly 
optimistic. The 1970s produced another crop of serious 
setbacks in illegal operations in the United States — 
among them the collapse of the illegal residencies of 
swore their oaths of allegiance as American citizens in 
1970, their neighbors apparently regarded them as a 
model married couple. In reality, the increasing friction 

between them had begun to affect their operational 
effectiveness. In 1971 they flew to Haiti to be divorced, 
but informed only the Centre and their New York lawyer. 
On their return they still contrived to keep up appearances 
as a married couple by living together in their New Jersey 
apartment. EMMA, however, asked the Centre to find her 
a new partner. In October 1972 KONOV was recalled to 
Moscow, where he died three years later. EMMA was 
dismissed from the KGB.^^ 

Valoushek’s career as the illegal DOUGLAS was to 
end a few years later in even greater ignominy. His first 
assignment in the United States, to penetrate the Hudson 
Institute, was wholly unrealistic. As Valoushek later 
complained, had he been able to use his real identity and 
mention his postgraduate degrees from Charles 
University, Prague, and Heidelberg, he might have made 
contact with senior members of the Institute. But posing 
as photographer and cameraman without higher education 
he had no worthwhile opportunity to do so.^^ In 1970, 
unreasonably dissatisfied with Valoushek’s progress, the 
Centre took him off the Hudson Institute assignment.^^ 

The Vaklousheks’ elder son, Peter Herrmann, bom in 
1957, had a brilliant school academic record and was 
expected to have opportunities to recmit within American 
universities that his parents did not. In 1972 Valoushek 
revealed his tme identity to Peter, told the Centre he had 
done so and said that his son was ready to join the KGB. 

Moscow accepted the offer and agreed to pay Peter’s 
university fees. In the summer of 1975, shortly before 
entering McGill University in Montreal, Peter began 
training in Moscow and started his career as an illegal 
with the German codename ERBE (“Inheritor”). In 1976 
he moved from McGill to Georgetown University, where 
he was instructed to report on students whose fathers had 
government jobs (especially if they had character flaws 
which could be exploited), as well as on “progressive” 
students and professors opposed to the imperialist policies 
of the United States. He was also told to try to find a part- 
time job in the Georgetown Center for Strategic and 
International Studies, make friends with Chinese students 
and discover as much as possible about them.^^ 

By the end of the academic year, Peter Herrmann’s 
brief career as a teenage illegal was over. Early in May 
1977 Valoushek was arrested by the FBI and given the 
choice of being charged with espionage, together with his 
wife and son, or of working as a double agent. He later 
told the espionage writer John Barron that after his arrest 
he worked as a double agent under FBI control for over 
two years until the Bureau discontinued the operation. 
“Rudi [Valoushek] gave us his word and he kept it,” the 
FBI told Barron. “We must keep our word to him.” On 
September 23, 1979 an unmarked furniture van removed 
all the contents of the “Herrmann” household in Andover 
Road, Hartsdale. The Valoushek family left to start new 
lives elsewhere under new identities. 

Valoushek’s KGB file, however, gives a very different 
account of his relations with the FBI. For well over a year 
after his arrest, he included deliberate errors and warning 
signs in his messages to the Centre as an indication that 
he was working under instructions from the FBI. The 
KGB failed to notice that anything was wrong until it was 
warned by an agent early in October 1978 that Valoushek 
had been turned. Soon afterwards the Centre summoned 
him to a meeting in Mexico City with the Washington 
deputy resident, Yuri Konstantinovich Linkov 
(codenamed BUROV). The FBI told him to keep the 
rendezvous in order to continue the double agent 
deception. Valoushek began his meeting with Linkov by 
admitting that he and his family had been under Bureau 
control since the spring of the previous year. He suspected 
that he had been betrayed by LUTZEN, who had defected 
in West Germany in 1969.^^ He complained that he had 
done his best to warn the Centre, but that no one had paid 
attention to his warnings. A subsequent investigation by 
the counter-intelligence department of the FCD Illegals 
Directorate uncovered an extraordinary tale of 
incompetence. A series of warnings and deliberate errors 
in Valoushek’s communications since May 1977 had been 
overlooked and messages he had posted to the residencies 
in Vienna and Mexico City had simply been ignored.^ ^ 
Immediately after Valoushek’s warning to the KGB in 
Mexico City in October 1978, the KGB warned 
Hambleton that contact with his controller would be 

temporarily broken for security reasons. Instead of being 
told that Valoushek had defected, however, he was simply 
given a vague warning that “progressive” people and 
organizations were under increased surveillance. He was 
instructed to destroy all compromising materials and to 
deny everything if he was questioned. In case of 
emergency, he was advised to escape to East Germany. 
Hambleton, however, remained confident that he had 
covered sufficient of his tracks to prevent a case from 
being brought against him. In June 1979 he sent a 
confident message to the KGB in secret writing, saying 
that there was no cause for alarm.^^ 

At 7:15 a.m. on November 4, 1979 RCMP officers 
arrived at Hambleton’ s Quebec City apartment with a 
search warrant. For the next two and a half years there 
was extensive press speculation and numerous questions 
about Hambleton in the Canadian parliament, but no 
Canadian prosecution. On March 3, 1980, the first day of 
the new Trudeau administration, the FBI made an 
apparent attempt to force its hand by producing 
Valoushek (under a pseudonym) for a press conference at 
Bureau headquarters, where he publicly identified 
Hambleton as one of his agents. Hambleton shrugged off 
the charges. Though appearing to revel in detailed 
descriptions of his secret contacts with Moscow by short- 
wave radio and other hocus pocus, he insisted that he was 
not a spy: “A spy is someone who regularly gets secret 
material, passes it on, takes orders, and gets paid for it. I 

have never been paid.”^^ According to Hambleton’s KGB 
file, however, between September 1975 and December 
1978 alone he was paid 18,000 dollars. In May 1980 the 
Canadian Ministry of Justice, apparently convinced that 
there was still insufficient evidence, announced that 
Hambleton would not be prosecuted. Thereafter media 
interest in the case gradually died down. Two years later, 
however, Hambleton was arrested during a visit to 
London, tried under the Official Secrets Act and 
sentenced to ten years in jail.^^ 

Valoushek’s intended successor as illegal resident in 
the United States was probably Klementi Alekseyevich 
Korsakov, codenamed KIM, bom in 1948 in Moscow to a 
Russian father and a German mother. Korsakov’s mother, 
who died in 1971, had herself been a KGB illegal, 
codenamed EVA. Korsakov seems to have been selected 
as a potential illegal while still a child and, like his 
mother, was given bogus identity documents by the East 
Germans. According to his legend, Korsakov was 
Klemens Oskar Kuitan, an illegitimate child bom in 
Dalleghof in 1948. Like many other Soviet illegals, he 
and his mother posed as East German refugees, entering 
West Berlin in 1953 and moving to the ERG a year later. 
In 1967, at the age of eighteen, Korsakov obtained a West 
German passport. After his mother’s death, he spent 
several years in Vienna, first at an art school, then taking 
an advertising course, while simultaneously training 

secretly for illegal intelligence work. In 1978, after two 
transatlantic trips to familiarize himself with life in the 
United States, he moved to New York. 

Once he had begun work as a KGB illegal, however, 
Korsakov quickly became disillusioned. In January 1980, 
while undergoing further training in Moscow, he secretly 
entered the United States embassy, identified himself as 
an illegal, gave the identities of a number of other KGB 
officers (among them Artur Viktorovich Pyatin, head of 
Line N (illegals support) in Washington) and was 
debriefed by the CIA station. Since Korsakov was 
nominally a West German citizen, it was decided to 
transfer him secretly to the embassy of the FRG to 
arrange for his exfiltration. Mitrokhin’s notes do not 
record whether the KGB had observed him entering the 
American embassy, but they were waiting for him when 
he arrived at Moscow airport to return to the West. After 
lengthy interrogation, Korsakov was sent to the 
Kazanskaya psychiatric hospital, where, like a number of 
prominent Soviet dissidents, he was falsely diagnosed as 

THIRTY YEARS AFTER the beginning of the Cold War, 
the Centre’s grand strategy for a powerful chain of illegal 
residencies running American agent networks as 
important as those during the Second World War had 
little to show for an enormous expenditure of time and 
effort. At the end of the 1970s, following a string of 

previous failures, Valoushek’s illegal residency was under 
the (albeit imperfect) control of the FBI and Korsakov 
was preparing to defect. 

Particularly galling for the Centre was the fact that 
probably the most remarkable penetration of the Main 
Adversary by an illegal during the Cold War was 
achieved not by the KGB but by its junior partner, the 
Czechoslovak StB. In 1965 two StB illegals, Karl and 
Hana Koecher, arrived in New York, claiming to be 
refugees from persecution in Czechoslovakia. Fluent in 
Russian, English and French as well as Czech, Karl 
Koecher found a job as a consultant with Radio Free 
Europe while studying first for a master’s degree at 
Indiana University, then for a doctorate at Columbia. 
Among his professors at Columbia was Zbigniew 
Brzezinski, who later became President Carter’s National 
Security Adviser. All the time, he posed as a virulent anti- 
communist, even objecting to the purchase of an 
apartment in his East Side building in New York by the 
tennis star Ivan Lendl — simply because of Lendl’s Czech 
origins. In 1969, a year before gaining his PhD, Karl 
Koecher was appointed lecturer in philosophy at Wagner 
College, Staten Island. Hana, meanwhile, worked for a 
diamond business which gave her regular opportunities to 
travel to Europe and act as courier for the StB. The 
Koechers may also have been the most sexually active 
illegals in the history of Soviet Bloc intelligence, 
graduating from “wifeswapping” parties to group orgies 

at New York’s Plato’s Retreat and Hell Fire sex clubs 
which flourished in the sexually permissive pre-AIDS era 
of the late 1960s and 1970s. 

With the blessing of the StB, the Koechers later 
revealed some of their colorful careers to the Washington 
investigative journalist Ronald Kessler.^^ Karl Koecher’s 
KGB file, however, reveals that he withheld important 
details. In 1970 he was summoned back to Prague to take 
part in an StB active measure designed to unmask alleged 
CIA operations using Czech emigres. Koecher, however, 
was too attached to his swinging lifestyle to leave New 
York, refused to return and for the next four years broke 
off contact with the StB.^^ In 1971 he succeeded in 
becoming a naturalized US citizen; his wife was granted 
citizenship a year later. 

Karl Koecher seems to have devised a plan to mend his 
fences with the StB by penetrating the CIA. In 1973 he 
moved to Washington and obtained a job as translator in 
the Agency’s Soviet division, with a top secret security 
clearance. His chutzpah was such that only three weeks 
later he demanded a better job: 

My present position is by no means one which would 
require a PhD. I am interested in intelligence work, 
and I want to stay with the agency and do a good 
piece of work. But I also think that it would only be 
fair to let me do it in a position intellectually far 
more demanding than the one I have now ... 

Probably as a result of his complaints, Koecher was later 
asked to write intelligence assessments based on some of 
the Russian and Czech material which he translated and 
transcribed from tape recordings. 

Sex in Washington struck Koecher as even more 
exciting than in New York. In the mid-1970s, he later 
claimed nostalgically, Washington was “the sex capital of 
the world.” The Koechers joined the “Capitol Couples,” 
who met for dinner at The Exchange restaurant on 
Saturday evenings before moving on for group sex in a 
hotel or private house, as well as becoming members of a 
private club of Washington swingers at Virginia’s In 
Place, about ten of whose members worked for the CIA. 
Hana, blonde, attractive and ten years younger than her 
husband, later boasted that she had had sex with 
numerous CIA personnel. Pentagon officials, reporters 
from major newspapers and a US Senator. The organizer 
of “Capitol Couples” remembered her as “strikingly 
beautiful; warm, sweet, ingratiating; incredibly 
orgasmic.” Karl, however, “was a bit strange ... The 
women he was with said he was a terrible lover, very 
insensitive. His wife was everything he wasn’t.”^^ 

In 1974, having penetrated the CIA, Karl Koecher 
renewed contact with the StB, which consulted the KGB 
about whether to reactivate him. Henceforth he became a 
KGB agent with the codename RING, as well as being an 
StB illegal. The Koechers’ adventures in Washington sex 

clubs are unlikely to have provided the StB and KGB with 
more than compromising information and gossip about 
Washington officials, most of it of no operational 
significance. Far more important was the classified Soviet 
and Czech material translated by Karl Koecher for the 
CIA which he forwarded to the KGB. Andropov 
personally praised his intelligence as “important and 
valuable. In 1975 Koecher left full-time Agency 
employment, but continued on contract work, based in 
New York. Among the subjects of his assessments was 
the decision-making process in the Soviet leadership.^ ^ 

In 1975 Koecher supplied the KGB’s New York 
residency with highly rated intelligence on CIA 
operations against the Soviet Union in the Third World. 
As well as arranging meetings in New York, his KGB 
case officers also met him in Austria and France. 
Among his most important counter-intelligence leads was 
evidence that the CIA had recruited a Soviet diplomat. 
Following an apparently lengthy investigation, the KGB 
identified the diplomat as Aleksandr Dmitryevich 
Ogorodnik, then working in the American department at 
the Foreign Ministry. Soon after his arrest in 1977, 
Ogorodnik agreed to write a full confession but 
complained that the pen given him by his interrogator was 
too clumsy for him to use. As soon as he was given his 
own pen back, he removed a concealed poison capsule, 
swallowed it before the guard could stop him and died in 

the interrogation room.^^ 

In the early 1980s the Koechers were themselves 
betrayed by a CIA agent in the StB. Arrested in 1984, 
they returned to Czechoslovakia less than two years later 
as part of a deal which allowed the imprisoned Russian 
dissident Anatoli Shcharansky to emigrate to Israel. 
According to a newspaper report, as they crossed the 
Glienicker Bridge from West Berlin to East Germany: 

With his moustache and fur-lined coat, Karl F. 
Koecher looked like nothing so much as a fox. His 
wife, Hana, wore a mink coat and high white mink 
hat. Blonde and sexy, with incredibly large blue 
eyes, she looked like a movie star. 

“The KGB thinks highly of me,” Karl Koecher later 
boasted to Ronald Kessler. There was a curious sequel 
to the Koechers’ espionage careers in the West. In 1992 
Hana succeeded in obtaining a job in the commercial 
section at the British embassy in Prague. She was sacked 
two years later after a Czech journalist revealed her 

AT THE BEGINNING of the 1980s, despite all the 
setbacks of the previous thirty years, the Centre’s plans 
for the expansion of illegal networks on the territory of 
the Main Adversary still remained remarkably ambitious 
— though not to quite the same degree as a decade earlier. 

Instead of the ten illegal residencies which it had intended 
to establish within the United States by 1975, the Centre 
planned to have six by 1982. Between them, the six 
residencies were supposed to have three to four sources in 
each of a series of major penetration targets: the White 
House, the State Department, the Pentagon and what were 
described as “related institutions” — among them the 
Hudson Institute, the Rand Corporation, Columbia 
University’s School of International Relations, 
Georgetown University’s Center for Strategic Studies and 
the West German affiliates of Stanford University’s 
Center for Strategy and Research. The Centre also 
planned the “active recruitment” of students at Columbia, 
New York and Georgetown Universities.^^ 

It is clear that the KGB had some success in deploying 
illegals against the Main Adversary in the 1980s. For 
example, Mitrokhin’s notes record that in 1983 the illegal 
couple GORT and LUIZA were operating in the United 
States, but give no details of their achievements.^^ 
However, even the KGB’s downgraded plan for six illegal 
residencies, each with agents at the heart of the Reagan 
administration, was hopelessly unrealistic. The scale of 
the Centre’s ambitious projects for illegal operations 
against the Main Adversary in the later years of the Cold 
War reflected not the reality of the 1980s but the spell still 
cast by the triumphs of the Great Illegals half a century 



Part 4: Walk-ins and Legal Residencies in the Later Cold 


Yuri Andropov became KGB chairman in 1967 with 
extravagant expectations of the potential contribution of 
political intelligence to Soviet foreign policy, particularly 
towards the United States. In a report to KGB Party 
activists soon after his appointment, he declared that the 
KGB must be in a position to influence the outcome of 
international crises in a way that it had failed to do during 
the Cuban missile crisis five years earlier. He ordered the 
preparation within three to four months of a First Chief 
(Foreign Intelligence) Directorate report to the Central 
Committee on the current and future policy of the Main 
Adversary and its allies. The principal weakness of 
current operations in the United States, Andropov 

complained, was the lack of American agents of the 
caliber of the Britons Kim Philby, George Blake and John 
Vassall, or the West German Heinz Felfe. Only by 
recruiting such agents, he insisted, could the FCD gain 
access to really high-grade intelligence.^ 

Almost from the moment he became a candidate (non- 
voting) member of the Politburo in 1967, Andropov 
established himself as a powerful voice in Soviet foreign 
policy. In 1968 he emerged as the chief spokesman of 
those calling for “extreme measures” to crush the Prague 
Spring.^ During the 1970s he became co-sponsor, with the 
foreign minister, Andrei Gromyko, of the main foreign 
policy proposals brought before the Politburo (of which 
both were full, voting members from 1973). Dmitri 
Ustinov, who became Defense Minister in 1977, 
sometimes added his signature to the proposals worked 
out with Gromyko. According to the long- serving Soviet 
ambassador in Washington, Anatoli Dobrynin: 

Andropov had the advantage of familiarity with both 
foreign policy and military issues from the KGB’s 
broad sources of information ... Gromyko and 
Ustinov were authorities in their respective domains 
but laid no special claim to each other’s fields in the 
way that Andropov felt comfortable in both.^ 

Under Andropov, the FCD, which had traditionally been 
wary of taking the initiative in issuing intelligence 

assessments, for fear that they might contradict the 
opinions of higher authority, reformed and expanded its 
analytical branch.^ On a number of occasions Andropov 
circulated slanted assessments to the Politburo in an 
attempt to influence its policy.^ 

Andropov became one of Brezhnev’s most trusted 
advisers. In January 1976, for example, he sent the 
General Secretary a strictly personal eighteen-page letter, 
which began sycophantically: 

This document, which I wrote myself, is intended for 
you alone. If you find something in it of value to the 
cause, I shall be very glad, and if not, then I ask you 
to consider it as never having happened.^ 

Though careful not to criticize Brezhnev even in private 
discussions with senior KGB officers,^ Andropov was 
well aware of both his intellectual limitations and 
declining health, and set out to establish himself as heir- 
apparent. The General Secretary paid little attention to the 
details of foreign policy. Dobrynin quickly discovered 
that what most interested Brezhnev about foreign affairs 
were the pomp and circumstance of ceremonial occasions: 

... the guards of honor, the grand receptions for 
foreign leaders in the Kremlin, the fulsome publicity, 
and all the rest. He wanted his photo taken for his 
albums, which he loved to show. He much preferred 

a fine ceremony signing final documents rather than 
working on them. 

During one meeting with Dobrynin, Brezhnev 
disappeared upstairs and reemerged in field marshal’s 
uniform, his chest clanking with medals. “How do I 
look?” he asked. “Magnificent!” Dobrynin dutifully 
replied.^ From 1974 onwards a series of mild strokes 
caused by arteriosclerosis of the brain left Brezhnev a 
semi-invalid. At the rear of the cavalcade of black Zil 
limousines which accompanied Brezhnev wherever he 
went was a resuscitation vehicle. By the mid-1970s one of 
his closest companions was a KGB nurse, who fed him a 
steady stream of pills without consulting his doctors.^ 

own influence and that of the KGB in the making of 
Soviet foreign policy, his ambitious plans for dramatically 
improved political intelligence on the Main Adversary 
were never realized. Line PR (political intelligence) in the 
American residencies failed to live up to his high 
expectations. In 1968, a scandal arose over the New York 
resident, Nikolai Panteleymonovich Kulebyakin, a former 
head of the FCD First (North American) Department. 
After the Centre had received a complaint against him, 
probably from within his residency, an enquiry revealed 
that he had entered the KGB with a bogus curriculum 
vitae. Contrary to the claims in his CV, he had never 

completed his school education and had evaded military 
service. Fearing that Kulebyakin might defect if he were 
confronted with his crimes in Washington, he was told he 
had been promoted to deputy director of the FCD and 
summoned home to take up his new office. On arriving in 
Moscow, however, he was summarily dismissed from the 
KGB and expelled from the Communist Party. 

Thanks chiefly to two walk-ins. Line PR in Washington 
performed rather better than New York during the mid- 
and late 1960s. In September 1965 Robert Lipka, a 
twenty-year-old army clerk in NS A, caused great 
excitement in the Washington residency by presenting 
himself at the Soviet embassy on Sixteenth Street, a few 
blocks from the White House, and announcing that he was 
responsible for shredding highly classified documents. 
Lipka (code-named DAN) was probably the youngest 
Soviet agent recruited in the United States with access to 
high-grade intelligence since the nineteen-year-old Ted 
Hall had offered his services to the New York residency 
while working on the MANHATTAN project at Los 
Alamos in 1944. Lipka’ s file notes that he quickly 
mastered the intelligence tradecraft taught him by Line 
PR. Over the next two years he made contact with the 
residency about fifty times via dead letter-boxes, brush 
contacts and meetings with a case officer. ^ ^ 

The youthful head of Line PR, Oleg Danilovich 
Kalugin, spent “countless hours” in his cramped office in 
the Washington residency sifting through the mass of 

material provided by Lipka and choosing the most 
important documents for cabling to Moscow. Lipka’ s 
motives were purely mercenary. During the two years 
after he walked into the Washington embassy, he received 
a total of about 27,000 dollars, but regularly complained 
that he was not paid enough and threatened to break 
contact unless his remuneration was increased. Lipka 
eventually did break contact in August 1967, when he left 
NS A at the end of his military service to study at 
Millersville College in Pennsylvania and probably 
concluded that his loss of intelligence access made it no 
longer worth his while maintaining contact with the 
Washington residency. To discourage the KGB from 
trying to renew contact, Lipka sent a final message 
claiming that he had been a double agent controlled by 
US intelligence. In view of the importance of the 
classified documents he had provided, however, the KGB 
had no doubt that he was lying. Attempts by both the 
residency and illegals to renew contact with Lipka 
continued intermittently, without success, for at least 
another eleven years. 

Only a few months after Lipka ceased working as a 
Soviet agent, the Washington residency recruited another 
walk-in with access to SIGINT. The most important Cold 
War agent recruited in Washington before Aldrich Ames 
walked in in 1985 was probably Chief Warrant Officer 
John Anthony Walker, a communications watch officer 
on the staff of the Commander of Submarine Forces in the 

Atlantic (COMSUBLANT) in Norfolk, Virginia. Late in 
1967 he entered the Soviet embassy and announced, “I’m 
a naval officer. I’d like to make some money and I’ll give 
you some genuine stuff in return.” Despite his junior rank. 
Walker had access to very high-level intelligence — 
including the key settings of US naval ciphers. The 
sample batch of his material, which he brought with him 
to the embassy, was examined with amazement by 
Kalugin and the Washington resident, Boris 
Aleksandrovich Solomatin. According to Kalugin, 
Solomatin’s “eyes widened as he leafed through the 
Walker papers. ‘I want this!’ he cried.” Walker, they later 
agreed, was the kind of spy who turns up “once in a 
lifetime.” Enabling Soviet codebreakers to crack US navy 
codes, claims Kalugin, gave the Soviet Union “an 
enormous intelligence advantage” by allowing it to 
monitor American fleet movements. 

Walker, described in a fitness report from his 
commanding officer in 1972 as “intensely loyal” with “a 
fine sense of personal honor and integrity,” found 
photographing top secret documents and cipher material 
with a Minox camera in the COMSUBLANT 
communications center so easy that he was later to claim, 
“K Mart has better security than the Navy.” He went on to 
form a spy-ring by recruiting a naval friend, Jerry 
Whitworth, and his own son and elder brother. For 
Kalugin the greatest surprise of both the Lipka and 
Walker cases was their revelation of “how incredibly lax 

security still was at some of the United States’ top secret 

After the foundation in 1968 of the ultra-secret 
Sixteenth Department to handle SIGINT material 
collected by the FCD, Walker was transferred to its 
control and thus no longer figured on the Washington 
residency’s agent list.^^ Solomatin, however, was careful 
to ensure that he retained personal oversight of the 
running of what became the Walker family spyring 
throughout the extraordinary eighteen years of its 
existence. The reflected glory of the Lipka and Walker 
cases was to win Solomatin the Order of the Red Banner 
and, later, promotion to deputy head of the FCD. 
Kalugin’s career also benefited; in 1974 he became the 
FCD’s youngest general. 

Most walk-ins were less straightforward than Lipka and 
Walker. During the 1970s KGB residencies, especially 
that in Mexico City, had to deal with a growing number of 
“dangles” — double agents controlled by the US 
intelligence community who offered their services as 
Soviet agents. One of the most successful dangles was 
MAREK, a master sergeant of Czech descent at the Fort 
Bliss army base in Texas, who visited the Soviet embassy 
in Mexico in December 1966 and offered information on 
electronic equipment used by the US army. Recruited in 
June 1968, he had numerous meetings over the next eight 
years with a grand total of twenty-six case officers in 

Mexico, West Germany, Switzerland, Japan and Austria. 
In May 1976, however, the KGB learned from the former 
CIA officer Philip Agee (PONT) that MAREK was a US 
dangle, run in a joint CIA/Defense Intelligence Agency 
operation of which he had personal knowledge. 

By the late 1970s a special Pentagon panel was 
selecting classified documents which were given to 
American dangles, mostly non-commissioned officers 
selected by the DIA to strengthen their credibility as 
Soviet spies. As well as providing a potential channel for 
disinformation in a conflict or crisis, large amounts of 
KGB time and energy were wasted in distinguishing 
dangles from genuine walk-ins. The most successful of 
the real Soviet recruits, Aldrich Ames, said later that the 
refusal of the Red Army to release classified documents 
made it impossible for Soviet dangles to compete with 
those of the United States: 

Even if a document were of no real value, no one in 
the Soviet military was willing to sign off on 
releasing it, knowing that it was going to be passed 
to the West. They were afraid that a few months 
later, they would be called before some Stalin-like 
tribunal and be shot for treason.^ ^ 

Throughout the Cold War the main weakness of the 
Washington residency was its inability to recruit agents 
able to provide high-level political intelligence from 

within the federal government. At the end of the 1960s, 
however, it had one non-agent source to which it attached 
great importance. A line PR officer, Boris Sedov, 
operating under cover as a Novosti journalist, had 
succeeded in making contact with Henry Kissinger while 
he was still a professor at Harvard University. According 
to Kalugin, “We never had any illusions about trying to 
recruit Kissinger: he was simply a source of political 
intelligence.” When Kissinger became an adviser to 
Nixon during the 1968 election campaign, he began to use 
Sedov to pass messages to Moscow that Nixon’s public 
image as an unreconstructed Cold War warrior was false 
and that he wanted better relations with the Soviet Union. 
After Nixon’s election victory, Brezhnev sent personal 
congratulations to him via Sedov together with a note 
expressing the hope that together they would establish 
better US — Soviet relations. While the presidential 
campaign had been underway, the long-serving Soviet 
ambassador, Anatoli Dobrynin, had tolerated Sedov’s 
secret contacts with Kissinger. Once Nixon entered the 
White House and Kissinger became his National Security 
Adviser, however, he insisted on taking over the back 
channel to the Kremlin himself. 

When Kissinger took over as Secretary of State in 
1973, Dobrynin became the only ambassador in 
Washington who was allowed to enter the State 
Department unobserved via the underground garage.^^ 
The Washington residency complained to the Centre that 

Kissinger had forbidden his officials to meet members of 
the Soviet embassy outside office hours, thus making it 
impossible for residency officers to develop contacts of 
their own within the State Department and “check 
Kissinger’s true intentions when negotiating with 
Ambassador Dobrynin.”^^ During his twenty-three years 
in Washington from 1963 to 1986, Dobrynin’s access to a 
series of major policy-makers from Dean Rusk under 
Kennedy to George Shultz under Reagan was never 
equaled by the Washington residency. 

Line PR at the New York residency had no success in 
recruiting “valuable agents” within the US administration 
either. The United Nations, however, was a much softer 
target. Of the more than 300 Soviet nationals employed in 
the UN Secretariat, many were KGB and GRU officers, 
agents and co-optees. KGB officers operating under 
diplomatic cover became the trusted personal assistants to 
successive UN secretaries-general: Viktor 

Mechislavovich Lesiovsky to U Thant, Lesiovsky and 
Valeri Viktorovich Krepkogorsky to Kurt Waldheim and 
Gennadi Mikhaylovich Yevstafeyev to Javier Perez de 
Cuellar.^^ The KGB made strenuous attempts to cultivate 
Waldheim in particular, arranging for the publication of 
flattering articles about him in the Soviet press and 
selecting a painting of Samarkand by a Soviet artist which 
was personally presented to him by Lesiovsky and 
Krepkogorsky when he visited the USSR.^^ 

According to Arkadi Nikolayevich Shevchenko, the 
Russian under secretary-general at the UN who defected 
in 1978, Lesiovsky and Krepkogorsky were given largely 
routine responsibilities by Waldheim, checking the order 
of speakers at the General Assembly or representing him 
at innumerable diplomatic receptions, but were frozen out 
of sensitive UN business by what they claimed was 
Waldheim’s “Austrian mafia.” The UN Secretariat in 
New York none the less became a much more successful 
recruiting ground than the federal government in 
Washington. Shevchenko frequently saw Lesiovsky in the 
delegates’ lounge, “buying drinks for an ambassador, 
telling amusing stories, procuring hard-to-get theater or 
opera tickets, name dropping, ingratiating himself. The 
Secretary-General’s KGB personal assistants spent much 
of their time cultivating and trying to recruit members of 
foreign missions and the UN Secretariat from around the 

The Centre, however, frequently expressed 
disappointment with political intelligence operations by 
the New York residency outside the United Nations. The 
residency’s work was seriously disrupted in 1973 when it 
discovered that the FBI had detailed information on the 
activities of some of its operations officers, as well as of 
three “developmental” agents (codenamed GREK, 
BREST and BRIZ).^^ A report at the end of 1974 
concluded that Line PR’s performance had been 

unsatisfactory for some time past: 

For a number of years the Residency has not been 
able to create an agent network capable of fulfilling 
the complex requirements of our intelligence work, 
especially against the US We have not succeeded in 
achieving this goal in 1974, either, although there 
has been some progress in this line. There have been 
several recruitments (SUAREZ, DIF, HERMES) and 
confidential contacts have been acquired. But these 
results still do not move us any closer to fulfilling 
our basic task.^^ 

None of the three new agents was of major significance. 
SUAREZ was a Colombian journalist recruited by 
Anatoli Mikhailovich Manakov, a KGB officer operating 
under cover as Komsomolskaya Pravda correspondent in 
New York. A few years later SUAREZ succeeded in 
gaining US citizenship.^^ DIF was a US businessman who 
provided political and economic assessments.^^ 
HERMES, potentially the most important of the three new 
recruits, was Ozdemir Ahmet Ozgur, a Cypriot bom in 
1929. In 1977, the New York residency was able to 
arrange through Arkadi Shevchenko for Ozgur to gain a 
post at the UN Secretariat. When Shevchenko defected in 
1978, however, the KGB was forced to break off all 
contact with HERMES. 

DIF, the US businessman, was also included in the 

Washington residency’s list of its Line PR agents in 1974. 
Line PR had nine other agents: GRIG, MAGYAR, 
and STOIC. GRIG remains unidentified but is reported 
as operating in Canada.^^ MAGYAR was a leading peace 
activist. MORTON was a prominent lawyer recruited in 
1970 but taken off the agent list in 1975 because of his 
advancing years. On his retirement he put the Washington 
residency in touch with his son, who was also a partner in 
a well-known law firm.^^ NIK was a Colombian who 
worked on US — Colombian cultural exchange 
programs. RAMZES was an American professor with 
contacts in Congress, academe, the press and Latin 
America.^^ REM was an Italian employee of the UN 
Secretariat.^^ ROMELLA was a Latin American diplomat 
in the UN Secretariat, who made contact with the KGB to 
seek its help in renewing her contract at the UN before it 
expired in 1975; she supplied both classified documents 
and recruitment leads. SHEF was a professor at 
McMaster University, recruited during a visit to Lithuania 
in 1974.^^ STOIC was a Latin American diplomat in the 
UN Secretariat. As in New York, none of the 
Washington Line PR agents had high-level access to any 
branch of the federal government. 

Though the New York residency had some successes in 
electronic eavesdropping, in active measures and in 
scientific and technological intelligence, its Line PR 

network mostly consisted of agents at the UN and in 
emigre communities, only a minority of whom had US 
citizenship.^^ The largest concentration of agents was 
within the Soviet colony itself, most of whom inhabited 
the residential complex in Riverdale. According to KGB 
statistics, in 1975 the colony numbered 1,366 Soviet 
employees and dependents. Of the 533 employees, 
seventy-six were officially classed as agents and sixteen 
as “trusted contacts. Most, however, were chiefly 
concerned with informing on their colleagues to Line SK 
(Soviet Colony) in the residency. The Centre’s assessment 
in 1974 stressed the limitations of Line PR’s New York 

Not one of these agents has access to secret 
American information. The basic thrust of operations 
with this network therefore consists of using it for 
the collection of information from UN diplomatic 
sources, and from several American [non-agent] 

Lacking any high-level agents in the federal 
government. Line PR officers in New York and 
Washington, usually operating under cover as diplomats 
or journalists, devoted much of their time to collecting 
insider gossip from well-placed non-agent sources in 
Congress and the press corps. As head of Line PR in 
Washington from 1965 to 1970, Kalugin got to know the 

columnists Walter Lippmann, Joseph Kraft and Drew 
Pearson; Chalmers Roberts and Murray Marder of the 
Washington Post; Joseph Harsch of the Christian Science 
Monitor; Carl Rowan, former director of the US 
Information Agency; and Henry Brandon of the London 
Times. Kalugin’s role when he called at their offices or 
lunched with them in Washington restaurants was not that 
of agent controller or recruiter. Instead, he “would act like 
a good reporter,” carefully noting their assessments of the 
current political situation: “Rarely did I come up with a 
scoop for the Politburo, but the reporting of our [PR] 
section enabled Soviet leaders to have a better sense of 
American political realities ...” During the 1968 
presidential election campaign some of Kalugin’s sources 
provided corroboration for Sedov’s reports, based on 
conversations with Kissinger, that, if elected, Nixon 
would prove much less anti-Soviet than Moscow feared. 
One of Kalugin’s most important contacts was Senator 
Robert Kennedy who, but for his assassination just after 
he had won the California presidential primary, might 
have won the 1968 Democratic nomination. Before his 
death Kennedy presented Kalugin with a tie-pin showing 
the PT-109 torpedo boat which his brother had captained 
during the war. Line PR officers in Washington also had 
regular meetings with such leading senators as Mike 
Mansfield, William Fulbright, Mark Hatfield, Charles 
Percy, Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern and Jacob 
Javits. The Centre liked to boast to the Politburo that its 

assessments of American policy were based on access to 
the Congressional elite.^^ 

Most of the political reporting of the Washington 
residency was thus based on non-secret sources — to the 
considerable annoyance of some of the Soviet diplomats 
whose far smaller foreign currency allowances gave them 
less freedom to entertain their contacts in Washington 
restaurants. Despite his insistence on keeping the back 
channel to himself, Dobrynin took a more benign view of 
the residency’s work, and seemed genuinely interested in 
what it discovered from both its contacts and agents. “In 
too many Soviet embassies,” Dobrynin complained, 
“normal personal relations between the ambassador and 
the KGB resident were the exception rather than the rule.” 
Ambassador and resident frequently became locked in 
bitter rivalry as each sought “to show who really was the 
boss in the embassy” and to demonstrate to Moscow the 
superiority of his own sources of information.^^ 

As resident in Washington from 1965 to 1968 
Solomatin had got on well with Dobrynin. When he 
became resident in New York in 1971, however, he 
quickly began to feud with Yakov Malik, the Soviet 
representative at the United Nations. Malik strongly 
objected to Solomatin’ s attempts to develop contacts 
whom he wished to cultivate himself — among them 
David Rockefeller, brother of Nelson and chairman of 
Chase Manhattan Bank.^^ Malik was fascinated by 

Rockefeller’s 30,000-name card file of his contacts 
around the world, cross-indexed by country, city and 
business. On a visit to the chairman’s sprawling 
seventeenth-floor office at the sixty-story Chase 
Manhattan building, Malik asked to see a sample from the 
file. Rockefeller picked out the card for Khrushchev.^^ 
Malik also vigorously opposed Solomatin’s contacts with 
the veteran diplomat Averell Harriman, regarded in 
Moscow as one of the most influential American 
advocates of better relations with the Soviet Union. In 
co-operation with Dobrynin, Harriman later returned from 
retirement to act as unofficial channel of communication 
between Brezhnev and Jimmy Carter during the transition 
period after Carter’s 1976 election victory. Solomatin 
complained to the Centre that Malik’s objections to his 
attempts to cultivate Rockefeller and Harriman were 
“characteristic” of his general obstructionism. He 
failed, however, to tell the Centre that there was not the 
slightest prospect of recruiting either Rockefeller or 

In an attempt to improve the quality of agent 
recruitment in the United States, the director of the 
Institute of Psychology in the Academy of Sciences, Boris 
Fyodorovich Lomov, a “trusted contact” of the KGB, was 
sent in 1975 to advise the New York residency on 
techniques of cultivation.^^ In 1976 the Centre devised an 
elaborate incentive scheme to reward successful 

recruiters, with inducements ranging from medals and 
letters of appreciation to accelerated promotion, new 
apartments and cash bonuses in hard currency (which 
would make possible the purchase of Western consumer 
goods that could be shipped back to Moscow at the end of 
the officer’s tour of duty).^^ 

As chairman of the KGB, Andropov seemed unable to 
grasp the difficulties of penetrating the US administration. 
During the mid-1970s he initiated a series of hopelessly 
impracticable recruitment schemes. Following Nixon’s 
resignation in August 1974 after the Watergate scandal, 
Andropov instructed the Washington residency to 
establish contact with five members of the former 
administration: Pat Buchanan and William Safire, former 
advisers and speechwriters to Nixon; Richard Allen, 
Deputy National Security Adviser during the first year of 
Nixon’s administration; C. Fred Bergsten, an economist 
on the National Security Council (NSC); and S. Everett 
Gleason, an NSC veteran who died three months after 
Nixon’s resignation. All were wildly improbable 
recruits. In 1975 Andropov personally approved a series 
of equally improbable operations designed to penetrate 
the “inner circles” of a series of well-known public 
figures: among them George Ball, Ramsey Clark, 
Kenneth Galbraith, Averell Harriman, Teddy Kennedy 
and Theodore Sorensen. Somewhat humiliatingly for 
the FCD, the KGB’s most productive agent during the 

1976 election campaign was a Democratic activist with 
access to the Carter camp who had been recruited during a 
visit to Russia by the Second Chief Directorate.^^ 

The KGB’s most successful strategy for cultivating 
American policy-makers was to use the prestigious 
academic cover of the Moscow Institute of the United 
States and Canada. The secret 1968 statute of the institute 
kept at the Centre authorized the KGB to task it to 
research aspects of the Main Adversary which were of 
interest to it, to provide KGB officers with cover 
positions, to invite prominent American policy-makers 
and academics to Moscow and to undertake intelligence- 
related missions to the United States. Among the KGB’s 
cover positions at the institute was that of deputy director, 
occupied by Colonel Radimir Bogdanov (codenamed 
VLADIMIROV), sometimes described behind his back as 
“the scholar in epaulets. The KGB’s most important 
agent at the institute was its director, Georgi Arbatov, 
codenamed VASILI, who built up a large circle of high- 
level contacts in the United States and was regularly 
required to cultivate them.^^ According to Kissinger: 

[Arbatov] was especially subtle in playing to the 
inexhaustible masochism of American intellectuals 
who took it as an article of faith that every difficulty 
in US — Soviet relations had to be caused by 
American stupidity or intransigence. He was 
endlessly ingenious in demonstrating how American 

rebuffs were frustrating the peaceful, sensitive 
leaders in the Kremlin, who were being driven 
reluctantly by our inflexibility into conflicts that 
offended their inherently gentle natures. 

Though Arbatov’s access to US policy-makers raised 
KGB hopes of a major penetration of the federal 
government, Mitrokhin found no evidence in the files of 
any significant recruitment which resulted from it. In the 
Centre’s view, Arbatov’s most important contact during 
the 1970s was former Under- Secretary of Defense Cyrus 
Vance, codenamed VIZIR (“Vizier”). During a visit to 
Moscow in the spring of 1973, Vance unsurprisingly 
agreed with Arbatov on the need to “increase the level of 
mutual trust” in US — Soviet relations. Arbatov reported 
that he had told Vance — doubtless to no effect — that the 
majority of the American press corps in Moscow were 
propagating “a negative propagandistic” image of the 
USSR at the behest of the Zionist lobby in the United 
States. In 1976 Arbatov was sent on another mission to 
the United States. While there he claimed an addition 200 
dollars for “operational expenses” from the New York 
residency for entertaining Vance and others. From such 
inconsequential meetings the Centre briefly formed 
absurdly optimistic hopes of penetrating the new 
American administration after Jimmy Carter’s victory in 
the presidential election of November 1976 and his 
appointment of Vance as Secretary of State. On December 

19 Andropov personally approved operations against 
Vance which were probably intended to make him at least 
a “trusted contact” of the KGB. The operations were, of 
course, doomed to failure. Vance’s file records that, once 
he entered the Carter administration, any possibility of 
unofficial access to both him and his family dried up.^^ 
Doubtless to the frustration of the Centre, Ambassador 
Dobrynin continued to have a private entree to the State 
Department via its underground garage, just as he had 
done during Kissinger’s term as Secretary of State, and 
prided himself on maintaining through Vance the 
“confidential channel” between White House and Kremlin 
which the Centre had briefly deluded itself into believing 
it could take over.^^ 

The Centre’s early expectations of the Carter 
administration were so unrealistic that it even devised 
schemes to cultivate his hardline National Security 
Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski. The FCD drew up a plan 
to send Arbatov’s deputy, Bogdanov, whom Brzezinski 
had met previously, to Washington “to strengthen their 
relationship and to convey to him some advantageous 
information.” On January 3, 1977 Andropov also 
approved an operation to collect “compromising 
information” on Brzezinski as a means of putting pressure 
on him. Unsurprisingly, as in the case of Vance, the 
Centre’s early hopes of cultivating Brzezinski quickly 
evaporated, and the Centre concentrated instead on 

devising “active measures” to discredit him.^^ 

KGB Decree No. 0017 of May 26, 1977 declared that 
there was an urgent need for better intelligence on the 
Carter administration. The Centre’s evaluations of the 
work of the Washington and New York residencies in 
both 1977 and 1978 make clear that this requirement was 
not met. Line PR’s agent network in the United States 
was once again declared incapable of meeting the 
objectives assigned to it. Not a single agent had direct 
access to major penetration targets. 

Lacking reliable, high-level sources within the 
administration, the Centre, as frequently happened, fell 
back on conspiracy theories. Early in 1977 Vladimir 
Aleksandrovich Kryuchkov, head of the FCD and a 
protege of Andropov, submitted to him a report entitled 
“On CIA Plans to Recruit Agents Among Soviet 
Citizens,” revealing a non-existent CIA masterplan to 
sabotage Soviet administration, economic development 
and scientific research: 

... Today American intelligence is planning to recruit 
agents among Soviet citizens, train them and then 
advance them into administrative positions within 
Soviet politics, the economy and science. The CIA 
has drafted a program to subject agents to individual 
instruction in espionage techniques and also 
intensive political and ideological brainwashing ... 
The CIA intends that individual agents working in 

isolation to carry out policies of sabotage and 
distortion of superiors’ instructions will be 
coordinated from a single center within the US 
intelligence system. The CIA believes that such 
deliberate action by agents will create internal 
political difficulties for the Soviet Union, retard 
development of its economy and channel its 
scientific research into dead ends. 

Andropov considered this improbable top secret 
conspiracy theory so important that on January 24, 1977 
he forwarded it under his signature to the other members 
of the Politburo and Central Committee. 

THE CENTRE HARBORED far fewer illusions about the 
incoming Reagan administration in January 1981 than it 
had done about Carter four years earlier. Any hope that 
Reagan’s anti-Soviet speeches during the election had 
been mere campaign rhetoric quickly faded after his 
inauguration. In April 1981, after a trip to the United 
States at the Centre’s request, Arbatov sent a report on the 
new administration to Andropov and Kryuchkov. At a 
dinner in the White House he had been able to observe 
Reagan for one and a half hours from a distance of only 
fifteen meters. Though Reagan seemed to be acting the 
role of president, he played the part with genuine 
emotion. Tears came to his eyes when the flags of the four 
armed services were brought into the room and when he 

stood up and placed his hand on his heart as the national 
anthem was played. Nancy Reagan’s eyes never left her 
husband. Her adoring expression reminded Arbatov of a 
teenage girl suddenly placed next to her favorite pop star. 
Though Reagan’s speech to the assembled journalists was 
“exceptionally shallow,” the President played to 
perfection the role of “father of the nation,” a great leader 
who had kept his humanity, a sense of humor and the 
common touch. 

Both the Centre and the Kremlin took a less benign 
view of Reagan. In a secret speech to a major KGB 
conference in May 1981 a visibly ailing Brezhnev 
denounced Reagan’s policies as a serious threat to world 
peace. He was followed by Andropov, who was to 
succeed him as general secretary eighteen months later. 
To the astonishment of most of the audience, the KGB 
chairman announced that, by decision of the Politburo, the 
KGB and GRU were for the first time to collaborate in a 
global intelligence operation, codenamed RYAN — a 
newly devised acronym for Raketno-Yadernoye 
Napadenie (“Nuclear Missile Attack”). RYAN’s purpose 
was to collect intelligence on the presumed, but non- 
existent, plans of the Reagan administration to launch a 
nuclear first strike against the Soviet Union — a delusion 
which reflected both the KGB’s continuing failure to 
penetrate the policy-making of the Main Adversary and 
its recurrent tendency towards conspiracy theory.^ ^ “Not 
since the end of the Second World War,” Andropov 

informed foreign residencies, “has the international 
situation been as explosive as it is now.”^^ As Brezhnev’s 
successor in November 1982, Andropov retained full 
control over the KGB; his most frequent visitors were 
senior KGB officers.^^ Throughout his term as general 
secretary, RYAN remained the FCD’s first priority. 

For several years Moscow succumbed to what its 
ambassador in Washington, Anatoli Dobrynin, fairly 
described as a “paranoid interpretation” of Reagan’s 
policy.^^ Most residencies in Western capitals were less 
alarmist than Andropov and the KGB leadership. When 
Oleg Antonovich Gordievsky joined the London 
residency in June 1982 he found all his colleagues in Line 
PR skeptical about operation RYAN. None, however, 
were willing to risk their careers by challenging the 
Centre’s assessment. RYAN thus created a vicious circle 
of intelligence collection and assessment. Residencies 
were, in effect, ordered to search out alarming 
information. The Centre was duly alarmed by what they 
supplied and demanded more.^^ The Washington resident, 
Stanislav Andreyevich Androsov, a protege of 
Kryuchkov, was at pains to provide it.^^ 

The Centre interpreted the announcement of the SDI 
(“Star Wars”) program in March 1983 as part of the 
psychological preparation of the American people for 
nuclear war. On September 28, 1983 the terminally ill 
Andropov issued from his sickbed a denunciation of 

American policy couched in apocalyptic language 
unparalleled since the depths of the Cold War. 
“Outrageous military psychosis” had taken over the 
United States. “The Reagan administration, in its imperial 
ambitions, goes so far that one begins to doubt whether 
Washington has any brakes at all preventing it from 
crossing the point at which any sober-minded person must 
stop.” Alarm within the Centre reached a climax during 
the NATO exercise “Able Archer 83,” held in November 
1983 to practice nuclear release procedures. For a time the 
KGB leadership was haunted by the fear that the exercise 
might be intended as cover for a nuclear first strike. Some 
FCD officers stationed in the West were by now more 
concerned by the alarmism in the Centre than by the 
threat of a Western surprise attack. 

Operation RYAN wound down (though it did not end) 
during 1984, helped by the death of its two main 
proponents, Andropov and defense minister Ustinov, and 
by reassuring signals from London and Washington, both 
worried by intelligence on Soviet paranoia. The alarmist 
RYAN reports obediently provided by KGB residencies 
were merely an extreme example of Line PR’s habitual 
tendency to tell Moscow what it wanted to hear. One 
political intelligence officer later admitted: 

In order to please our superiors, we sent in falsified 

and biased information, acting on the principle 

“Blame everything on the Americans, and everything 

will be OK.” That’s not intelligence, it’s self- 

During the first Reagan administration, as at other 
periods, the Centre would have gained a far more accurate 
insight into American policy by reading the New York 
Times or Washington Post than by relying on the reports 
of its own residencies. One of the most striking signs of 
Gorbachev’s “new thinking” on foreign policy after he 
became general secretary in 1985 was his early 
dissatisfaction with the FCD’s political reporting. In 
December 1985 Viktor Mikhailovich Chebrikov, KGB 
chairman since 1982, summoned a meeting of the KGB 
leadership to discuss a stem memorandum from 
Gorbachev “on the impermissibility of distortions of the 
factual state of affairs in messages and informational 
reports sent to the Central Committee of the CPSU and 
other mling bodies.” The meeting sycophantically agreed 
on the need to avoid sycophantic reporting and declared 
the duty of all Chekists both at home and abroad to fulfill 
“the Leninist requirement that we need only the whole 

Gorbachev was far more impressed initially by the 
performance of FCD’s Directorate T. Throughout the 
Cold War the KGB had greater success in collecting 
scientific and technological intelligence (S&T) than in its 
political intelligence operations against the Main 
Adversary. Infiltrating US defense contractors and 

research institutes proved far easier than penetrating the 
heart of the federal government. S&T also rarely suffered 
from the political correctness which distorted the 
reporting of Line PR in residencies and political 
intelligence assessments at the Centre. What remained at 
least partially taboo, however, was the difficulty 
experienced by Soviet state-run industry in making full 
use of the extraordinary S&T which it received. In 1971, 
for example, the defense and electronics industry 
ministries began a joint project to duplicate Westinghouse 
cathode-ray tubes. Two years later, because of production 
problems at the State Optical Institute, little progress had 
been made.^^ It was ideologically impossible to learn the 
lessons of failures such as this, for to do so would have 
involved a recognition of the inferiority of the Soviet 
command economy to the market economies of the West. 
FCD reports thus concentrated on the structural 
contradictions of Western capitalism while glossing over 
the far more serious economic problems of the Soviet 

In 1970 the New York and Washington residencies 
each ran nine Line X agents and five “trusted contacts. 

In 1973 the new position of head S&T resident for the 
United States was established in New York, with 
responsibility for coordinating Line X operations by the 
three American residencies, as well as attempts to evade 
the embargo on the export of advanced technology to the 

Soviet Union. By 1975 Directorate T had seventy-seven 
agents and forty-two trusted contacts working against 
American targets inside and outside the United States. 

Mitrokhin’s notes identify thirty-two of the S&T agents 
and trusted contacts active in the United States during the 
1970s, mostly recruited in the same decade. A further 
eight whose espionage is not dated in the notes were also 
probably active in the 1970s.^^ The companies for which 
they worked included some of the leading American 
defense contractors: among them IBM, McDonnell 
Douglas and TRW.^^ The S&T agent network also 
contained scientists with access to important 
defenserelated projects at some of the United States’ best- 
known research institutes: among them MIKE at the 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and TROP in 
the Argonne National Laboratory at the University of 
Chicago. In addition to the civilian S&T agent network, 
there were also KGB agents in the armed forces who 
provided intelligence on the latest military technology: 
among them JOE, an army electronics engineer who 
provided “valuable information” on military 
communications systems,^^ and NERPA, who in 1977 
was engaged in weapons research at the US army’s 
Material Development and Readiness Command 

Though Mitrokhin’s information on the extent and 
targets of the S&T network on the territory of the Main 

Adversary is far more extensive than any previously 
available account, it is not comprehensive.^^ There is, for 
example, no mention in Mitrokhin’s notes of the 
Californian drug dealer Andrew Daulton Lee, who in 
1975-6 provided the KGB residency in Mexico City with 
the operating manual for the Rhyolite surveillance 
satellite and technical data on other satellite systems. 
Lee’s source was his friend Christopher Boyce, an 
employee of Rhyolite’s manufacturer, TRW Corporations 
in Redondo Beach. Among the TRW secrets passed on to 
the KGB was detailed information on how American spy 
satellites monitored Soviet missile tests. In 1977 Lee and 
Boyce were arrested, tried and sentenced to, respectively, 
life and forty years’ imprisonment. Both achieved 
celebrity status as the subjects of the bestselling book and 
film The Falcon and the Snowman.^^ One of the KGB 
files noted by Mitrokhin reveals that only a year after the 
arrest of Lee and Boyce the KGB recruited another, 
possibly even more important, spy in TRW with the 
codename ZENIT. While Boyce had been only a clerk 
(though with access to classified documents), ZENIT was 
a scientist.^^ 

Directorate T was proud of its achievements, 
particularly against the Main Adversary, and anxious to 
bring them to the attention of the Soviet leadership. 
Brezhnev was informed in 1972 that S&T had produced a 
saving during the past year of over a hundred million 

convertible roubles. Among the successes singled out 
for Brezhnev’s attention was intelligence on the 
construction of the American space shuttle and 
preparations for unmanned flights to Mars. This, he was 
told, would solve a number of current problems in the 
development of Soviet space technology. S&T 
intelligence on the pelletization of seeds, he was further 
assured (doubtless unrealistically), would increase the 
Soviet grain harvest by 20 to 30 per cent and shorten 
growing time.^^ In 1973 Directorate T reported that it had 
acquired over 26,000 documents and 3,700 “samples.” 
Though only a minority of this material was classified, it 
included top secret information on the Saturn rocket, the 
Apollo space missions, the Poseidon, Honest John, 
Redeye, Roland, Hydra and Viper missiles, the Boeing 
747 jumbo jet and computer technology subsequently 
plagiarized in the construction of the Minsk-32 

The triumphs of S&T collection figured prominently in 
the Chekist Hall of Fame opened by the FCD at Yasenevo 
in 1977 to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the October 
Revolution. Directorate T’s exhibit claimed that during 
the previous fiveyear period it had obtained over 140,000 
S&T documents and more than 20,000 “samples.” These 
were alleged to have produced an economic benefit of 
over one billion roubles for the Soviet economy and to 
have advanced research work in a number of branches of 

science and technology by periods of from two to six 


years. ' 

Leonid Sergeyevich Zaitsev, the dynamic and 
ambitious head of Directorate T appointed in 1975, 
argued that it should be allowed to leave the FCD and 
become an independent directorate within the KGB. It 
would, he claimed, need a budget of only 1 percent per 
annum of the value of the S&T which it supplied to 
Soviet industry and agriculture.^^ The head of the FCD, 
Kryuchkov, however, was determined not to allow such a 
prestigious part of his intelligence empire to escape from 
his control. Despite failing to win its freedom. Directorate 
T increasingly operated independently from the rest of the 
FCD. Its new recruits mostly came from scientific or 
engineering backgrounds, had their own curriculum in the 
Andropov Institute (the FCD academy) and trained 
separately from those in other departments. In foreign 
residencies Line X officers mixed relatively little with 
their colleagues in other lines. 

The Military — Industrial Commission (VPK), which 
was mainly responsible for overseeing Directorate T, 
showed greater interest in non-American targets than 
during the early Cold War.^^^ The United States none the 
less remained a more important S&T target than the rest 
of the world combined. In 1980 61.5 percent of the VPK’s 
information came from American sources (some outside 
the USA), 10.5 percent from West Germany, 8 percent 

from France, 7.5 percent from Britain and 3 percent from 
Japan.^^^ In 1980 the VPK gave instructions for 3,617 
“acquisition tasks,” of which 1,085 were completed 
within a year, benefiting 3,396 Soviet research and 
development projects. Directorate T was its chief 
collection agency. 

Directorate T owed much of its success in meeting so 
many of the VPK’s requirements to its numerous 
collaborators in the Soviet scientific community, who 
numbered approximately 90 agent-recruiters, 900 agents 
and 350 trusted contacts during the mid- 1 970s. Among 
these collaborators — ^probably the largest network of 
talent- spotters in the history of S&T — were some of the 
Soviet Union’s leading scientists. All Western scientists 
— ^particularly in the United States — in fields related to 
Directorate T’s “acquisition tasks” were potential targets 
for the KGB. The first approach to a targeted scientist 
usually came from a Soviet colleague in a similar field, 
who would try to establish cooperation at a personal or 
institutional level. Directorate T would then seek to 
recruit the more naive or corrupt of the Western scientists 
approached in this way as agents or trusted contacts. 
Among the Directorate’s agent-recruiters was the director 
of the Physics and Energy Institute of the Latvian 
Academy of Sciences (codenamed VITOS), who in 1973 
recruited MIKE, a senior physicist at MIT.^^^ SATURN, 
a department head at McDonnell Douglas, was recruited 

in 1978 with similar assistance from the Lithuanian 
Academy of Sciences. 

The KGB also took an active part in the selection of 
Soviet students for academic exchange programs with the 
United States and trained many of them as talent-spotters. 
Students were told to seek places at universities and 
research institutes within easy reach of the residencies at 
New York (Brooklyn Polytechnic, MIT, Rensselaer 
Polytechnic and the universities of Columbia, Cornell, 
Harvard, New York and Princeton), Washington 
(American, Catholic, Georgetown, George Washington 
and Maryland Universities) and San Francisco (the 
University of California at Berkeley and San Francisco, 
California Institute of Technology, University of Southern 
California and Stanford). 

Directorate T’s success in penetrating American targets 
was greatly assisted by poor security in some of its target 
companies and research institutes. Appearing in 1985 
before a Senate committee investigating security among 
defense contractors, Christopher Boyce testified that he 
and colleagues at TRW “regularly partied and boozed it 
up during working hours with the ‘black vault’” housing 
the Rhyolite satellite project. Bacardi rum, he claimed, 
was kept behind the cipher machines and a cipher- 
destruction device used as a blender to mix banana 
daiquiris and Mai-Tais.^^^ Security failures in most other 
companies probably took less exotic and alcoholic forms. 

Since most major American companies operated 
abroad, they were vulnerable to penetration outside as 
well as inside the United States. In the mid-1970s 
seventeen major US companies and research institutes 
were targeted by KGB residencies in western Europe: 
among them IBM by the London, Paris, Geneva, Vienna 
and Bonn residencies; Texas Instruments by Paris; 
Monsanto by London and Brussels; Westinghouse 
Electric by Brussels; Honeywell by Rome; ITT by 
Stockholm; and the National Institutes of Health by 
Copenhagen. European residencies were assisted by a 
number of walk-ins. In 1974, for example, a Canadian 
resident of Los Angeles (later given the codename 
SPRINTER) entered the Soviet embassy in Helsinki, 
announced that he worked for an electro-optical company 
which was developing laser anti-missile systems and 
infra-red sights for firearms, tanks, ships and aircraft, and 
offered to sell its secrets. Like SPRINTER, most of the 
KGB’s S&T network in the United States appear to have 
been mercenary spies. 

SIGINT added substantially to the S&T provided by 
agents. The SIGINT stations within the Washington, New 
York and San Francisco residencies (whose operations are 
discussed in chapter 21) succeeded in intercepting the 
telephone and fax communications of the Brookhaven 
National Laboratory and a series of major companies. 
Mitrokhin’s notes, however, do not make it possible to 
assess the proportion of S&T provided by SIGINT rather 

than HUMINT. 

Since before the Second World War S&T had been 
regarded as an essential means of preventing Soviet 
military technology and weapons systems from falling 
behind the West’s. According to one report noted by 
Mitrokhin, over half the projects of the Soviet defense 
industry in 1979 were based on S&T from the West.^^^ 
Andropov claimed in 1981 that all the tasks in military 
S&T set for the KGB had been successfully completed. 
According to an official US report, based largely on 
documents supplied during the early 1980s by Vladimir 
Vetrov (codenamed FAREWELL), a French agent in 
FCD Directorate T: 

The Soviets estimate that by using documentation on 
the US F-18 fighter their aviation and radar 
industries saved some five years of development 
time and 35 million roubles (the 1980 dollar cost of 
equivalent research activity would be $55 million) in 
project manpower and other developmental costs. 

The manpower portion of these savings probably 
represents over a thousand man-years of scientific 
research effort and one of the most successful 
individual exploitations ever of Western technology. 

The documentation of the F-18 fire-control radar 
served as the technical basis for new 
lookdown/shootdown engagement radars for the 
latest generation of Soviet fighters. US methods of 

component design, fast-Fourier-transform 
algorithms, terrain mapping functions, and real-time 
resolution-enhancement techniques were cited as key 
elements incorporated into the Soviet counterpart. 

Other successful military projects made possible by S&T 
were the construction of a Soviet clone of the AWACS 
airborne radar system and the construction of the 
Blackjack Bomber modeled on the American Bl-B.^^^ 
From the late 1970s onwards increasing emphasis was 
also put on the contribution of S&T to the Soviet 
economy. Directorate T calculated that the main branches 
of civilian industry were ten years behind their Western 
counterparts. In January 1980 Andropov instructed 
Directorate T to draw up S&T collection plans designed 
to resolve current problems in Soviet agriculture, 
metallurgy, power-generation, engineering and advanced 
technology. Of the 5,456 “samples” (machinery, 
components, microcircuits, etc.) acquired by Directorate T 
during 1980, 44 percent went to defense industries, 28 
percent to civilian industry via the State Committee for 
Science and Technology (GKNT) and 28 percent to the 
KGB and other government agencies. In the same, 
possibly exceptional year, just over half the intelligence 
obtained by Directorate T came from allied intelligence 
services, chief among them the East German HVA and 
the Czechoslovak StB.^^^ 

Among the HVA’s greatest S&T successes was its 
penetration of IBM. According to the head of the HVA, 
Markus Wolf, the East German microelectronics company 
Robotron “became so heavily dependent on 
surreptitiously acquiring IBM’s technological advances 
that it was, in effect, a sort of illegal subsidiary of that 
company.”^ Though well behind the West, Robotron 
was rather better than its Soviet equivalents in exploiting 
IBM computer technology. The KGB’s name-trace 
system SOUD (“System for Operational and Institutional 
Data”) used East German computers. 

S&T collection continued to expand during the 1980s. 
At a meeting of senior FCD staff early in 1984 
Kryuchkov reported that, “In the last two years the 
quantity of material and samples handed over to civilian 
branches of industry has increased by half as much 
again.” This, he claimed, had been used “to real economic 
effect,” particularly in energy and food production. 
Kryuchkov characteristically failed to mention that the 
sclerotic nature of Soviet economic management made it 
far harder to exploit S&T in the civilian economy than in 
the imitation of Western armaments. His obsession with 
operation RYAN also left him dissatisfied with 
Directorate T’s intelligence on the weapons systems at the 
heart of Reagan’s non-existent plans for a nuclear first 
strike. “As previously,” Kryuchkov complained, “we are 
experiencing an acute shortage of secret information 
about new types of weapon and their means of delivery.” 

The FCD “work plan” for 1984 laid down as Directorate 
T’s main intelligence priorities: 

military technology measures taken by the Main 
Adversary to build up first-strike weapons: the 
quantitative increase in nuclear munitions and means 
of delivery (MX missile complexes, Trident, 
Pershing-2, cruise missiles, strategic bombers); 
replacement of one generation of nuclear missiles by 
another (Minuteman, Trident-2), the development of 
qualitatively new types of weapons (space devices 
for multiple use for military purposes, laser and 
pencil beam weapons, non-acoustic anti-submarine 
defense weapons, electronic warfare weapons, etc.). 

The second priority was “information and specimens of 
significant interest for civilian branches of the USSR’s 

Like other Soviet leaders, Gorbachev doubtless took it 
for granted that Soviet military technology required S&T 
from the West. He was probably more interested, 
however, in the use of S&T to invigorate the civilian 
economy. In an address to embassy staff in London on 
December 15, 1984, three months before he became 
general secretary, he singled out for praise the 
achievements of Directorate T and its Line X officers in 
foreign residencies. It was already clear that Gorbachev 
regarded the covert acquisition of Western technology 

and scientific research as an important part of economic 

The dramatic improvement in East — West relations 
during the later 1980s offered new opportunities for 
Directorate T, which produced 25-40,000 S&T 
“information reports” and 12-13,000 “samples” a year. In 
1986 it estimated their value at 550 million roubles; in 
1988 and 1989 it put the figure at one billion roubles a 
year.^^^ In the later 1980s about 150 Soviet weapons 
systems were believed by Western experts to be based on 
technology system stolen from the West.^^^ 

AS WELL AS being impressed by the achievements of 
Directorate T, Gorbachev also seems to have revised his 
initially critical opinion of the political intelligence 
provided by the FCD. During the early 1980s Kryuchkov 
had repeatedly berated his subordinates for their lack of 
success in recruiting important American agents, and 
demanded “a radical improvement.” As late as February 
1985 he denounced “the low standard” of operations 
against the Main Adversary and “the lack of appreciable 
results” by KGB residencies in recruiting US citizens. 

A walk-in to the Washington embassy two months later 
came as the answer to Kryuchkov’s prayers. By the time 
Aldrich Ames offered his services to the KGB in April 
1985 he had been working for the CIA for eighteen years. 
Within two months he had betrayed twenty Western 

(mostly American) agents: among them Dmitri Polyakov, 
a GRU general who had worked for the FBI and CIA for 
over twenty years; Oleg Gordlevsky, a British agent in the 
KGB who had just been appointed resident in London; 
Adolf Tolkachev, an electronics expert who had provided 
high-grade intelligence on the Soviet avionics system; and 
at least eleven other KGB and GRU officers stationed in 
various parts of the world. A majority were shot, though 
Gordlevsky made an epic escape from Russia, with SIS 
assistance, while under KGB surveillance. Collectively, 
they had represented probably the most successful 
Western agent penetration of the Soviet Union since the 
Bolshevik Revolution. Ames’s main motive for betraying 
them was probably greed. By the time of his arrest nine 
years later, the KGB and its successor agency had paid 
him almost three million dollars (probably more than any 
other agent in Russian history) and had promised him 
another two.^^^ As Gorbachev embarked on a new course 
in policy towards the United States, he was doubtless 
impressed by the fact that the KGB had, for the first time, 
recruited a major agent within the CIA. The FCD also 
appears to have responded to Gorbachev’s demand for 
less crudely biased reporting on the Main Adversary and 
its allies. According to Leonid Vladimirovich Shebarshin, 
then one of Kryuchkov’s deputies, “the FCD no longer 
had to present its reports in a falsely positive light,” 
though many of its officers must surely have found it 
difficult to throw off the habits of a lifetime. 

In December 1987 Gorbachev took Kryuchkov with 
him on his historic visit to Washington to sign with 
President Reagan the first arms control treaty to reduce 
the nuclear arsenals of the superpowers. Never before had 
a head of the FCD accompanied a Soviet leader on a visit 
to the West. Gorbachev’s confidence in Kryuchkov — 
which he would later bitterly regret — doubtless reflected 
his high opinion of the FCD’s success both in gathering 
an unprecedented volume of S&T and in penetrating the 
CIA. During the visit to Washington Kryuchkov had 
dinner at the Maison Blanche restaurant, unnoticed by 
other diners, with the Deputy Director of Central 
Intelligence, Robert Gates (later DCI). Gates wrote later: 

Looking back, it is embarrassing to realize that, at 
this first high-level CIA — KGB meeting, Kryuchkov 
smugly knew that he had a spy — Aldrich Ames — at 
the heart of CIA, that he knew quite well what we 
were telling the President and others about the Soviet 
Union, and that he was aware of many of our human 
and technical collection efforts in the USSR.^^^ 

In October 1988 Kryuchkov achieved his ambition of 
becoming the first foreign intelligence chief to become 
chairman of the KGB. His valedictory address on leaving 
the FCD was a remarkable mixture of the old and new 
thinking. “Democratization and glasnost are the motive 
force of perestroika^ he declared, “and we shall not win 

through without them:” 

Unless we have an objective view of the world, 
seeing it unadorned and free of cliches and 
stereotyped ideas, all claims about the effectiveness 
of our foreign policy operations will be nothing but 
empty words. 

The old suspicions and conspiracy theories about the 
United States, however, still lurked not far below the 
surface of Kryuchkov’s address. Without mentioning 
operation RYAN by name, he sought to justify the 
principles on which it was based: 

Many of [the FCD’s] former responsibilities have 
not been removed from the agenda. The principal 
one of these is not to overlook the immediate danger 
of nuclear conflict being unleashed. 

And he added a warning about what he alleged was the 
continuing brutality of “provocation operations” by 
Western intelligence services; he claimed that there had 
been over 900 such operations during the first half of 
1988 alone. Kryuchkov began 1989 with a dramatic 
demonstration of the new climate of East — West 
relations, becoming the first chairman in KGB history to 
receive the United States ambassador in his office. 
Thereafter he embarked on an unprecedented public 

relations campaign designed to win over Western as well 
as Soviet opinion. “The KGB,” he declared, “should have 
an image not only in our country but worldwide which is 
consistent with the noble goals I believe we are pursuing 
in our work.”^^^ 

After a brief power struggle, Kryuchkov was succeeded 
as head of the FCD by the 5 3 -year-old Leonid Shebarshin, 
the first man with experience of working in countries 
outside the Soviet Bloc to run foreign intelligence since 
the Second World War.^^^ One of Shebarshin’s main jobs 
at the beginning of the Gorbachev era had been to prepare 
intelligence reports for the Party leadership. The fact that 
he leapfrogged several more senior candidates for his new 
post is a certain indication that his briefing had impressed 
Gorbachev. Foreign intelligence officers interviewed 
by zvestia after Shebarshin’s resignation in September 
1991 described him as “the first really competent head of 
the FCD in decades. According to Shebarshin, his 
main initial brief from Gorbachev was “to ensure the 
West did not cheat on arms control.” 

The tactical victories of the FCD against the Main 
Adversary which impressed Gorbachev failed to avert 
strategic defeat. Directorate T’s very success in stealing 
Western secrets merely underlined the structural problems 
of the Soviet economy. Despite S&T worth a billion 
roubles a year and the Soviet Union’s large numbers of 
scientists and engineers, Soviet technology fell steadily 

further and further behind the West. Gorbachev’s reforms 
served only to weaken further the command economy, 
without establishing a market economy in its stead. There 
was a bread shortage even after the good harvest of 
1990.^^^ No amount of either economic or political 
intelligence could stave off the disintegration of the 
failing Soviet system. 

As the Soviet Union’s economic problems multiplied 
during 1990 and separatist movements strengthened, the 
Centre’s traditional suspicions of the Main Adversary 
revived. Kryuchkov did not place all the blame for 
Russia’s ills on imperialist plots. “The main sources of 
our trouble, in the KGB’s view,” he declared, “are to be 
found inside the country.” But he accused the CIA and 
other Western intelligence services of promoting “anti- 
socialist” and separatist forces as part of a “secret war 
against the Soviet state. According to Shebarshin, 
Gorbachev failed to heed the FCD’s warnings. “He and 
his friends lived in a world of self-delusion ... We were 
hitching our wagon to the Western train.”^^^ With 
Gorbachev, in the Centre’s view, unwilling to offend the 
Americans, Kryuchkov began to publicize some of the 
KGB’s neglected conspiracy theories. In December 1990 
he denounced a (non-existent) Western plot, “akin to 
economic sabotage,” to “deliver impure and sometimes 
infected grain, as well as products with an above-average 
level of radioactivity or containing harmful substances.” 

™ In February 1991 first Kryuchkov’s deputy, Viktor 
Fyodorovich Grushko, and then the new prime minister, 
Valentin Pavlov, denounced an equally imaginary plot by 
Western banks to undermine the rouble. The fullest public 
version of the Centre’s theory of a vast American-led 
conspiracy to subvert the Soviet Union was set out in 
April 1991 in a speech by the head of KGB assessments, 
Nikolai Sergeyevich Leonov, formerly deputy head of the 
FCD, responsible for operations in North and South 
America. The goal of US policy, he declared, was “to 
eliminate the Soviet Union as a united state.” Gorbachev, 
he implied, was refusing to listen: 

The KGB has been informing the leadership of the 
country about this in time and detail. We would not 
want a repetition of the tragic situation before the 
Great Patriotic War against Germany, when Soviet 
intelligence warned about the imminent attack of 
Nazi Germany but Stalin rejected this information as 
wrong and even provocative. You know what this 
mistake cost us. 

Further dramatic evidence of the resurgence of the 
KGB leadership’s traditional conspiracy theories about 
the Main Adversary came in a speech by Kryuchkov to a 
closed session of the Supreme Soviet on June 17. 
Kryuchkov read out a hitherto top secret FCD report to 
the Politburo of January 1977, “On CIA Plans to Recruit 

Agents Among Soviet Citizens,” which denounced an 
imaginary CIA masterplan to sabotage the Soviet 
administration, economy and scientific research. This 
plan, Kryuchkov claimed, remained actively in force. 
The CIA’s most important agent, he solemnly informed 
Gorbachev, was his own closest adviser, Aleksandr 
Yakovlev, allegedly recruited while an exchange student 
at Columbia University over thirty years earlier. 

As Kryuchkov later complained, Gorbachev did not 
take such nonsense seriously. Nor, no doubt, did many 
FCD officers with the first-hand experience of the West 
which the KGB Chairman lacked. Kryuchkov was now 
Gorbachev’s most dangerous opponent, convinced that, 
having tamely accepted the collapse of the Soviet Bloc in 
1989, Gorbachev was now presiding over the 
disintegration of the Soviet Union. In August 1991 he 
became the chief organizer of the coup which attempted 
to topple Gorbachev and preserve the Union. 



Active Measures and the Main Adversary 

The philosophers,” wrote Marx, “have only interpreted 
the world in various ways; the point, however, is to 
change it.”^ In addition to collecting intelligence and 
producing politically correct assessments of it, the KGB 
also sought to influence the course of world events by a 
variety of “active measures” (aktivinyye meropriatia) 
ranging from media manipulation to “special actions” 
involving various degrees of violence. Inspired by 
exaggerated accounts of its heroic defeat of counter- 
revolutionary conspiracies between the wars and a desire 
to impress the political leadership, it frequently 
overestimated its own effectiveness. 

Throughout the Cold War the United States was the 
main target for KGB active measures as well as for 

intelligence collection. Most were at the non-violent end 
of the active measures spectrum — “influence operations” 
designed to discredit the Main Adversary. A conference 
of senior FCD officers in January 1984 reaffirmed a 
priority which had remained unchanged since the end of 
the Second World War: “Our chief task is to help to 
frustrate the aggressive intentions of American 
imperialism ... We must work unweariedly at exposing 
the adversary’s weak and vulnerable points.”^ Much of 
what was euphemistically described as “exposure” was in 
reality disinformation fabricated by Service A, the active 
measures branch of the FCD, and spread by Line PR 
officers in foreign residencies. Line PR officers were 
supposed to spend about 25 percent of their time on active 
measures, though in practice some failed to do so. 

The wide variation in the sophistication of the 
disinformation generated by Service A reflected the 
uneven quality of its personnel. About 50 per cent of its 
officers were specialists in active measures. Some of the 
remaining 50 per cent were rejects from other 
departments. Few of the ablest and most ambitious FCD 
recruits wanted jobs in Service A; it rarely offered the 
opportunity of overseas postings and was widely regarded 
as a career dead end.^ There were, of course, exceptions. 
Yuri Modin, the last controller of the Magnificent Five, 
became an active measures specialist, was appointed 
deputy head of Service A and subsequently had a 
successful Line PR posting spreading disinformation in 

India before becoming head of political intelligence at the 
Andropov Institute.^ Many Service A officers, however, 
had little, if any, experience of living in the West and 
relied on crude conspiracy theories about the capitalist 
and Zionist plotters who supposedly operated a secret 
“command center” in the United States.^ Successive 
chairmen of the KGB and heads of the FCD, none of 
whom until the late 1980s had worked in foreign 
residencies, were influenced by the same theories. 

IT WOULD HAVE been wholly out of character had the 
Centre failed to interpret President Kennedy’s 
assassination by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas on 
November 22, 1963 as anything less than conspiracy. The 
deputy chairman of the KGB reported to the Central 
Committee in December: 

A reliable source of the Polish friends [the Polish 
intelligence service], an American entrepreneur and 
owner of a number of firms closely connected to the 
petroleum circles of the South, reported in late 
November that the real instigators of this criminal 
deed were three leading oil magnates from the South 
of the USA — Richardson, Murchison and Hunt, all 
owners of major petroleum reserves in the southern 
states who have long been connected to pro-fascist 
and racist organizations in the South.^ 

It was not difficult to find circumstantial “evidence” for 
this simplistic conspiracy theory, particularly as regards 
the oil magnate and anti-Communist buffoon H. L. Hunt. 
“The Communists need not invade the United States,” 
Hunt once preposterously declared. “Pro-Bolshevik 
sentiment in the US is already greater than when the 
Bolsheviks overthrew the Kerensky government and took 
over Russia.”^ 

Hunt’s son. Bunker, was one of a group of right-wing 
mavericks who had paid for a full-page advertisement in 
the Dallas Morning News on the day of Kennedy’s visit, 
accusing the President of being a Communist stooge — a 
charge which prompted Kennedy to say he was “heading 
into nut country.”^ The Dallas strip-club owner Jack 
Ruby, who shot and fatally wounded Oswald on 
November 24, had visited the Hunt offices shortly before 
Kennedy’s assassination.^ 

The KGB reported that a journalist from the Baltimore 
Sun “said in a private conversation in early December that 
on assignment from a group of Texas financiers and 
industrialists headed by millionaire Hunt, Jack Ruby, who 
is now under arrest, proposed a large sum of money to 
Oswald for the murder of Kennedy.” Oswald had 
subsequently been shot by Ruby to prevent him revealing 
the plot.^^ Khrushchev seems to have been convinced by 
the KGB view that the aim of the right-wing conspirators 
behind Kennedy’s assassination was to intensify the Cold 

War and “strengthen the reactionary and aggressive 
elements of American foreign policy.”^ ^ 

The choice of Oswald as Kennedy’s assassin, the KGB 
believed, was intended to divert public attention from the 
racist oil magnates and make the assassination appear to 
be a Communist plot.^^ The Centre had strong reasons of 
its own to wish to deflect responsibility for the 
assassination from Oswald. It was deeply embarrassed by 
the fact that in 1959 Oswald had defected to Russia, 
professing disgust with the American way of life and 
admiration for the Soviet system. Initially the KGB had 
suspected that he might have been sent on a secret 
mission by the CIA, but eventually concluded that he was 
an unstable nuisance and were glad to see the back of him 
when he returned to Texas with his Russian wife in 1962. 
After Oswald’s return the FBI at first similarly suspected 
that he might be a Soviet agent but then seems to have 
made the same jaundiced assessment of him as the 
Centre. KGB suspicions of Oswald revived, however, 
when he wrote to the CPUS A in August 1963 asking 
whether it might be better for him to continue the fight 
against “anti-progressive forces” as a member of the 
“underground” rather than as an open supporter of 
“Communist ideals.” Jack Childs (codenamed MARAT), 
an undeclared member of the CPUS A who acted as one of 
its main points of contact with the KGB, warned Moscow 
that Oswald’s letter “was viewed as an FBI provocation.” 

The fact that, unknown to the KGB, Childs was himself 
an FBI agent renders his warning unusually ironic. 

The Warren Commission, appointed by President 
Lyndon B. Johnson to investigate Kennedy’s 
assassination, reported in September 1964 that it had 
found “very persuasive” evidence that Oswald had acted 
alone and none of a conspiracy. Though the report was 
flawed, its main conclusions are probably accurate. 
Service A, which may well have been genuinely 
persuaded that Kennedy was the victim of a right-wing 
conspiracy, succeeded in sponsoring its first counterblast 
even before the Warren Report appeared. The publisher 
was Carl Aldo Marzani (codenamed NORD), an Italian- 
born American Communist and Soviet agent, probably 
recruited before the Second World War, who was 
extensively used by the KGB for active measures. Early 
in 1960 the New York residency recommended to the 
Centre that Marzani be given 6-7,000 dollars to enable his 
Liberty Book Club to continue publishing pro- Soviet 

NORD is an extremely energetic person and is quite 
devoted to his task. Despite his financial difficulties, 
he is struggling to keep SEVER [North, the Liberty 
Book Club publishing company] afloat. SEVER, 
together with its commercial bookselling network, 
the Prometheus Book Club, has been in existence for 
fourteen years. During this time it has published and 

distributed more than 200 titles of a progressive 
nature, by both American and foreign authors. The 
catalogue of the SEVER publishing firm lists around 
fifty titles, and the Prometheus Book Club has 7,000 
members. Books are also sent to 8,000 addresses on 
an individual basis. 

The international department of the Central Committee 
was plainly impressed. In May 1960 it approved a secret 
grant of 15,000 dollars, more than twice the sum 
suggested by the New York residency. 

Marzani’s productions during 1960 included his own 
translation of a rapturous endorsement of the Soviet 
system by an Italian Communist: 

It is the duty of every Socialist, of every democrat, of 
every modem man, to deepen his understanding of 
the USSR ... We are today capable of continuing to 
transform the world, thanks to the successes of the 
USSR, thanks to the successes in a series of other 
countries, thanks to the stmggles which we all wage 
in our own lands. We can, and we will, extend the 
civilization that was bom in October 1917.^^ 

In September 1961 the CPSU Central Committee 
allocated another 55,000 dollars for the next two years to 
allow Marzani to expand his publications. He was given a 
further 10,000 dollars a year to cover advertising costs. 

When the young KGB officer Oleg Kalugin, stationed in 
New York in the early 1960s under cover as a Radio 
Moscow reporter, paid his first visit to one of Marzani’s 
receptions, he found his apartment “filled with a motley 
assortment of Communists, liberals, and KGB spooks — 
all of them watched, undoubtedly, by FBI informers in 

Among the books published by Marzani in 1964 was 
the first volume on the Kennedy assassination to appear in 
the United States, Oswald: Assassin or Fall-Guy? by the 
German writer Joachim Joesten. At the beginning of the 
book Joesten expresses his “heartfelt thanks ... to Carl 
Marzani, a shrewd and hard-hitting publisher in the finest 
American tradition, who put his whole heart and soul in 
this book;” Marzani succeeded in publishing it within five 
weeks of receiving the manuscript. Joesten supported 
Moscow’s line in pinning the blame for the assassination 
on a conspiracy by right-wing racists, chief among them 
“oil magnate H. L. Hunt:” 

They all feared that Mr. Kennedy, with his test-ban 
treaty, his neutralization of Laos, his dislike of Latin- 
American militarists, and his quiet feelers towards 
Castro, intended to put an end to the Cold War, cut 
back the arms budget and bring under control the 
Warfare State — that “military-industrial complex” 
which President Eisenhower had excoriated, and 
warned the nation about, in his farewell address. 

According to Joesten, Oswald was “an FBI agent 
provocateur with a CIA background” who had been 
judged expendable, used as a fall guy and murdered to 
prevent him giving evidence.^^ Oswald: Assassin or Fall- 
Guy? thus established two themes which were to recur in 
Soviet and Russian active measures for the next thirty 
years: a plot by Hunt and other right-wing fanatics; and 
the involvement of the CIA. At the time, however, 
Joesten ’s book was overshadowed by the publication of 
the Warren report and further undermined by the publicity 
given to Joesten’ s Communist background.^^ 

The KGB correctly identified the New York lawyer 
Mark Lane as the most talented of the first wave of 
conspiracy theorists researching the JFK assassination. 
According to one report made on him, probably by the 
New York residency: 

Mark Lane is well known as a person with close ties 
to Democratic Party circles in the US. He holds 
liberal views on a number of current American 
political problems and has undertaken to conduct his 
own private investigation of the circumstances 
surrounding the murder of J. Kennedy.^^ 

Joesten praised Lane as “brilliant and courageous” and 
dedicated his own book to him: “Neither the ‘police state 
tactics’ of the FBI — to use [Lane’s] own words — nor the 

conspiracy of silence of the press magnates, could sway 
him from doggedly pursuing the truth. Together with 
student assistants and other volunteers, Lane founded the 
Citizens’ Committee of Inquiry in a small office on lower 
Fifth Avenue and rented a small theater at which, each 
evening for several months, he gave what became known 
as “The Speech,” updating the development of his 
conspiracy theory. “This alternative method of dissent 
was required,” writes Lane, “because not a single network 
radio or television program permitted the broadcast of a 
word of divergence from the official view.”^^ Though it 
dared not take the risk of contacting Lane directly, the 
New York residency sent him 1,500 dollars to help 
finance his research through the intermediary of a close 
friend whom Lane’s KGB file identifies only as a trusted 
contact. While Lane was not told the source of the money, 
the residency suspected that he might have guessed where 
it came from; it was also concerned that the secret subsidy 
might be discovered by the 

The same intermediary provided 500 dollars to pay for 
a trip by Lane to Europe in 1964. While there. Lane asked 
to visit Moscow in order to discuss some of the material 
he had found. The Centre regretfully concluded that 
inviting him to Russia would reveal its hand in too blatant 
a way and his proposed trip was “tactfully postponed.” 
Trusted contacts were, however, selected from among 
Soviet journalists to encourage him in his research. 

Among them was the KGB agent Genrikh Borovik, who 
later maintained regular contact with Lane. Lane’s Rush 
to Judgment, published in 1966, alleged complicity at the 
highest levels of government in the Kennedy 
assassination. It was top of that year’s hardback 
bestseller list and went on to become the bestselling 
paperback of 1967, as well as enjoying what Lane 
modestly describes as “enormous success around the 
world” and causing “a dramatic change in public 
perception” of the assassination.^^ 

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Lane’s success 
was less enormous. The most popular books on the 
assassination were now those that exposed some of the 
excesses of the conspiracy theorists.^ ^ CPUSA leaders 
who visited Moscow in 1971, though describing Rush to 
Judgment as “advantageous to the Communists,” claimed 
that Lane’s main motive was his own self- 
aggrandizement.^^ In the mid-1970s, however, the 
dramatic revelations of real conspiracy in the Nixon 
White House and of CIA assassination plots against 
several foreign statesmen gave the conspiracy theorists a 
new lease on life.^^ The KGB, predictably, was anxious to 
lose no opportunity to promote active measures which 
supported the increasingly popular theory that the CIA 
was behind Kennedy’s assassination. Its chief target was 
the former CIA officer turned Watergate conspirator E. 
Howard Hunt (sometimes confused with the Texan oil 

millionaire H. L. Hunt), who had been wrongly accused 
of being in Dallas on the day of the assassination. 

The centerpiece of the active measure against Howard 
Hunt, codenamed ARLINGTON, was a forged letter to 
him from Oswald, allegedly written a fortnight before the 
assassination. The letter used phrases and expressions 
taken from actual letters written by Oswald during his two 
years in the Soviet Union, was fabricated in a clever 
imitation of his handwriting. 

Dear Mr. Hunt, 

I would like information concerning my position. 

I am only asking for information. I am suggesting 
that we discuss the matter fully before any steps are 
taken by me or anyone else. 


Lee Harvey Oswald^^ 

The implication, clearly, was that Oswald wanted to meet 
Hunt before going ahead with the assassination. 

Before being used, the forgery was twice checked for 
“authenticity” by the Third Department of the KGB’s 
OTU (operational technical) Directorate. In 1975 
photocopies of it were sent to three of the most active 
conspiracy buffs, together with covering letters from an 
anonymous wellwisher who claimed that he had given the 
original to the Director of the FBI, Clarence Kelly, who 
appeared to be suppressing it. The Centre was doubtless 

disappointed that for almost two years its forgery received 
no publicity. In 1977, however, the letter was published 
by Penn Jones, the retired owner of a small Texas 
newspaper and self-published author of four books about 
the assassination. The New York Times reported that three 
handwriting experts had authenticated the letter. Oswald’s 
widow also identified her husband’s handwriting. 
Experts summoned by the House Select Committee on 
Assassinations in 1978 concluded more prudently that 
they were unable to reach a “firm conclusion” because of 
the absence of the original document.^^ 

The Centre was somewhat put out, however, by the fact 
that initial press reaction to its forgery centered chiefly on 
the likelihood of the letter being addressed to the late 
Texan oil millionaire H. L. Hunt (the central character in 
its own original conspiracy theory), rather than the KGB’s 
current intended target, the Watergate conspirator Howard 
Hunt. Service A believed there had been a CIA plot to 
disrupt its own plot. The KGB reported that an 
“orchestrated” American press campaign was seeking to 
divert public attention from Oswald’s connections with 
the American intelligence community by concentrating on 
H. L. Hunt instead. In April 1977, soon after the 
publication of the forged letter, the KGB informed the 
Central Committee that it was launching additional active 
measures to expose the supposed role of the “American 
special services” in the Kennedy assassination.^^ By 1980 

Howard Hunt was complaining that, “It’s become an 
article of faith that I had some role in the Kennedy 

By the late 1970s the KGB could fairly claim that far 
more Americans believed some version of its own 
conspiracy theory of the Kennedy assassination, involving 
a right-wing plot and the US intelligence community, than 
still accepted the main findings of the Warren 
Commission. Soviet active measures, however, had done 
less to influence American opinion than the Centre 
believed. By their initial cover-ups the CIA and the FBI 
had unwittingly probably done more than the KGB to 
encourage the sometimes obsessional conspiracy theorists 
who swarmed around the complex and confusing 
evidence on the assassination. Allen Dulles, the recently 
retired DCI on the Warren Commission, had deliberately 
not informed the commission that the CIA had plotted the 
assassination of Castro. On the very day of Kennedy’s 
assassination, the Agency had supplied an agent with a 
murder weapon for use against Castro. J. Edgar Hoover 
too had held back important information. He discovered, 
to his horror, that Oswald had not been included on the 
FBI’s security index of potentially disloyal citizens, 
despite having written a threatening letter to the Bureau 
after his return from Russia and subsequently making an 
appointment to see a KGB officer in Mexico City. After 
reading a report on “investigative deficiencies in the 
Oswald case,” Hoover concluded that, if it became public. 

the report would destroy the FBI’s reputation.^^ 

The information withheld by Dulles and Hoover would 
have been most unlikely to undermine the Warren 
Commission’s conclusion that Oswald had been a lone 
assassin. But, when it became public in the mid-1970s, it 
inevitably encouraged the belief that there had been other 
cover-ups which pointed to the involvement of the 
intelligence community. The Watergate scandal, and the 
revelations of intelligence abuses which followed, created 
a perfect breeding ground for the spread of conspiracy 
theories. Though most of the major abuses had been 
ordered or authorized by successive presidents, the belief 
grew that, in the words of Senator Frank Church, 
chairman of the Senate Select Committee to Study 
Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence 
Activities, the CIA had been “behaving like a rogue 
elephant on the rampage. 

SERVICE A SEIZED eagerly on Church’s ill-chosen 
metaphor. The KGB’s most valuable asset in its active 
measures to discredit the Agency was an embittered 
former CIA operations officer in Latin America, Philip 
Agee (codenamed PONT),^^ who had been forced to 
resign in 1968 after complaints at his heavy drinking, 
poor financial management and attempts to proposition 
wives of American diplomats. Though he remained in 
the West, Agee became, in effect, the CIA’s first defector. 

In 1973 he approached the KGB residency in Mexico City 
and offered what the head of the FCD’s Counter- 
intelligence Directorate, Oleg Kalugin, called “reams of 
information about CIA operations.” The suspicious KGB 
resident, however, found Agee’s offer too good to be true, 
concluded that he was part of a CIA plot and turned him 
away. According to Kalugin: 

Agee then went to the Cubans, who welcomed him 
with open arms ... The Cubans shared Agee’s 
information with us. But as I sat in my office in 
Moscow reading reports about the growing list of 
revelations coming from Agee, I cursed our officers 
for turning away such a prize.^^ 

In January 1975 Agee published an uncompromisingly 
hostile memoir of his career in the CIA entitled Inside the 
Company: CIA Diary, which identified approximately 
250 Agency officers and agents and claimed that 
“millions of people all over the world had been killed or 
had their lives destroyed by the CIA and the institutions it 
supports. The self-congratulatory KGB file on the 
book claims, doubtless with some exaggeration, that it 
was “prepared by Service A, together with the Cubans. 
Mitrokhin’s notes do not indicate exactly what the KGB 
and its Cuban ally, the DGI, contributed to Agee’s text. 
As Agee himself acknowledged, however: 
“Representatives of the Communist Party of Cuba [the 

DGI] ... gave important encouragement at a time when I 
doubted that I would be able to find the additional 
information I needed. While Agee was writing his 
book in Britain, the KGB maintained contact with him 
through its co-optee, Edgar Anatolyevich Cheporov, 
London correspondent of the Novosti news agency and 
the Literaturnaya Gazeta.^^ At Service A’s insistence, 
Agee removed all references to CIA penetration of Latin 
American Communist parties from his typescript before 

Because of legal problems in the United States, Inside 
the Company was first published in Britain, where it was 
an instant bestseller. The London Evening News called it 
“a frightening picture of corruption, pressure, 
assassination and conspiracy.” The Economist 
commended it as “inescapable reading.” Probably most 
valuable of all, from Service A’s viewpoint, was a review 
in the Spectator by Miles Copeland, a former CIA station 
chief in Cairo, who described Inside the Company as “as 
complete an account of spy work as is likely to be 
published anywhere.” With enthusiastic support from a 
number of journalists, Agee then set about unmasking the 
members of the CIA London station, some of whom were 
surprised emerging from their homes by press 
photographers. An American theater director staged a 
production satirizing the Agency in front of a number of 
CIA officers’ houses. “For a while,” claimed Agee, “the 

CIA in Britain was a laughing stock.” The left-wing 
Labor MP Stan Newens promoted a Commons bill, 
signed by thirty-two of his colleagues, calling for the CIA 
station to be expelled. Encouraged by Agee’s success in 
Britain, there was a rush by the media in other parts of 
Europe to expose the CIA stations in their own capitals. 

The six-month delay between the publication of the 

British and American editions of Inside the Company, and 

the associated legal difficulties, merely served to increase 

media interest in the United States and ensure its place 

high on the bestseller list. A review of Inside the 

Company in the CIA’s classified in-house journal. Studies 

in Intelligence, acknowledged that it was “a severe body 

blow” to the Agency: “A considerable number of CIA 

personnel must be diverted from their normal duties to 

undertake the meticulous and time-consuming task of 

repairing the damage done to its Latin- American program 

On November 16, 1976 a deportation order served on 
Agee requiring him to leave England turned his case, 
much to the delight of the Centre, into a cause celebre. 
According to one of the files noted by Mitrokhin: 

The KGB employed firm and purposeful measures to 
force the Home Office to cancel their decision ... The 
London residency was used to direct action by a 
number of members of the Labor Party Executive, 
union leaders, leading parliamentarians, leaders of 

the National Union of Journalists to take a stand 
against the Home Office decision. 

On November 30 the first in a series of well-publicized 
meetings to protest against the deportation order was held 
in London, with speakers including Judith Hart, former 
Labor Minister of Overseas Development, the leading 
Labor left-winger Ian Mikardo, Alan Sapper of the film 
and TV technicians union and the distinguished historian 
E. P. Thompson. An active defense committee^^ based at 
the National Council of Civil Liberties organized 
petitions, rallies and pickets of the Home Office. In the 
Commons Stan Newens sponsored a protest supported by 
over fifty MPs and led a delegation to see the Home 
Secretary, Merlyn Rees. Agee addressed sympathetic 
meetings in Birmingham, Blackpool, Brighton, Bristol, 
Cambridge, Cardiff, Coventry, London, Manchester and 
Newcastle. At his appeal against deportation in January 
and February 1977, Agee’s character witnesses included 
Stan Newens, Judith Hart, former Home Office minister 
Alex Lyon, former US Attorney- General Ramsey Clark, 
Kissinger’s former aide Morton Halperin and Sean 
MacBride, Nobel Peace Prize winner and UN High 
Commissioner for Namibia. Hart and another ex-Labor 
minister, Barbara Castle, sponsored a motion, supported 
by 150 MPs, to reform the appeals procedure. According 
to Agee’s KGB file, “Campaigns of support for PONT 
were initiated in France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Holland, 

Finland, Norway, Mexico and Venezuela.” After Agee’s 
appeals had failed, the final act in the long drawn-out 
protest campaign was a Commons debate on May 3. The 
Guardian, which supported Agee’s appeal, commented: 

When Merlyn Rees ... decided that Philip Agee and 
[American journalist] Mark Hosenball must go, he 
must equally have known there would be a fuss. But 
did he realize the endlessly stretching, deeply 
embarrassing nature of that fuss — the evidence at a 
length to rival War and Peace, the press conferences, 
the parade of fervent witnesses?^^ 

Though Agee was eventually forced to leave England 
for Holland on June 3, 1977, the KGB was jubilant at the 
“deeply embarrassing nature of [the] fuss” his deportation 
had caused. The London residency’s claim that it had 
been able to “direct” the campaign by prominent Labor 
politicians and others in support of Agee was, however, 
greatly exaggerated.^^ It doubtless did not occur to the 
vast majority of Agee’s supporters to suspect the 
involvement of the KGB and the DGI.^^ 

After Agee’s well-publicized expulsion from Britain, 
the KGB continued to use him and some of his supporters 
in active measures against the CIA.^^ Among the 
documents received by Agee from what he described as 
“an anonymous sender” was an authentic copy of a 
classified State Department circular, signed by Kissinger, 

which contained the CIA’s “key intelligence questions” 
for fiscal year 1975 on economic, financial and 
commercial reporting. KGB files identify the source of 
the document as Service In the summer of 1977 the 
circular was published in a pamphlet entitled “What 
Uncle Sam Wants to Know about You,” with an 
introduction by Agee. While acknowledging that it was 
“not the most gripping document in the world,” Agee 
claimed that it demonstrated the unfair assistance secretly 
given to US companies abroad by the American 
intelligence community. 

In 1978 Agee and a small group of supporters began 
publishing the Covert Action Information Bulletin in order 
to promote what Agee called “a worldwide campaign to 
destabilize the CIA through exposure of its operations and 
personnel. Files noted by Mitrokhin claim that the 
Bulletin was founded “on the initiative of the KGB” and 
that the group running it (collectively codenamed 
RUPOR), which held its first meeting in Jamaica early in 
1978, was “put together” by FCD Directorate K 
(counterintelligence). The Bulletin was edited in 
Washington by Bill Schaap, a radical lawyer codenamed 
RUBY by the KGB, his wife, the journalist Ellen Ray, 
and another journalist, Louis Wolf, codenamed 
ARSENIO. Agee and two other disaffected former 
members of the CIA, Jim and Elsie Wilcott (previously 
employed by the Agency as, respectively, finance officer 

and secretary), contributed articles and information.^^ 
There is no evidence in Mitrokhin’s notes that any 
member of the RUPOR group, apart from Agee, was 
conscious of the role of the DGI or KGB. 

The first issue of the Covert Action Information 
Bulletin was launched by Agee and the RUPOR group at 
a Cuban press conference on the eve of the Eleventh 
World Festival of Youth and Students, held to coincide 
with the Havana carnival in the summer of 1978. Agee 
also produced advance copies of another book. Dirty 
Work: The CIA in Western Europe, coauthored by himself 
and Wolf, which contained the names and biographical 
details of 700 CIA personnel who were, or had been, 
stationed in western Europe. “Press reaction,” wrote 
Agee, “was not disappointing. In the next few days we 
learned by telephone from friends in the States and 
elsewhere that most of the major publications carried 
stories about the Bulletin and Dirty Work. Perfect. 

The Centre assembled a task force of personnel from 
Service A and Directorate K, headed by V. N. Kosterin, 
assistant to the chief of Service A, to keep the Covert 
Action Information Bulletin supplied with material 
designed to compromise the CIA. Among the material 
which the task force supplied for publication in 1979 was 
an eighteen-page CIA document entitled “Director of 
Central Intelligence: Perspectives for Intelligence, 1976- 
1981.” The document had originally been delivered 
anonymously to the apartment of the Washington 

resident, Dmitri Ivanovich Yakushkin, and at the time had 
been wrongly assessed by both the residency and the 
Centre as a “dangle” by US intelligence.^^ Agee’s 
commentary on the document highlighted the complaint 
by DCI William Colby that recent revelations of its 
operations were among the most serious problems the 
CIA had to face.^^ Kosterin’s task force, however, 
became increasingly concerned about the difficulty of 
finding enough secret material for the Bulletin, and 
recommended that it look harder for open-source material, 
ranging from readers’ letters to crises around the world 
which could be blamed on the CIA — among them the 
Jonestown massacre in Guyana, when 900 members of 
the American religious cult the “People’s Temple” had 
been persuaded to commit mass suicide or had been 

Following what Service A believed was the success of 
Dirty Work: The CIA in Western Europe, Agee began 
work with Wolf on a sequel. Dirty Work II: The CIA in 
Africa. Early in 1979 Oleg Maksimovich Nechiporenko of 
Directorate K and A. N. Itskov of Service A met Agee in 
Cuba and gave him a list of CIA officers working on the 
African continent. Shortly before Dirty Work II was 
finished, Agee decided not to be publicly identified as one 
of the authors for fear that he might lose his residence 
permit in Germany, where he now lived. He also changed 
his official role on the Covert Action Information Bulletin 

from editor to “editorial adviser.” “How that would save 
my residence in Germany,” Agee later acknowledged, 
“was a little obscure ... but such was my fear that I was 
barely rational — at least on this point.”^^ Nechiporenko 
and Itskov agreed with Pedro Pupo Perez, the head of the 
DGI, that publication of Dirty Work II should be timed to 
coincide with the conference of ninety-two heads of non- 
aligned nations to be held in Havana, presided over by 
Fidel Castro, in September 1979.^^ 

By Agee’s own count. Dirty Work II brought the total 
number of CIA officials exposed by him and the RUPOR 
team to about 2,000. For the KGB it had been a 
remarkably effective active measure. The Senate 
Intelligence Committee reported in 1980: 

In recent years members of the House and Senate 
Intelligence Committees ... have become 
increasingly concerned about the systematic effort by 
a small group of Americans ... to disclose the names 
of covert intelligence agents ... Foremost among 
them has been Philip Agee ... The destructive effect 
of these disclosures has been varied and wide- 
ranging ... 

The professional effectiveness of officers who 
have been compromised is substantially and 
sometimes irreparably damaged. They must reduce 
or break contact with sensitive covert sources and 
continued contact must be coupled with increased 

defensive measures that are inevitably more costly 
and time-consuming. Some officers must be 
removed from their assignments and returned from 
overseas at substantial cost, and years of 
irreplaceable area experience and language skills are 

Since the ability to reassign the compromised 
officer is impaired, the pool of experienced CIA 
officers who can serve abroad is being reduced. 
Replacement of officers thus compromised is 
difficult and, in some cases, impossible. Such 
disclosures also sensitize hostile security services to 
CIA presence and influence foreign populations, 
making operations more difficult. 

All thirteen members of the House Intelligence 
Committee sponsored the Intelligence Identities 
Protection Bill, popularly known as the “Anti- Agee Bill,” 
which eventually became law in June 1982. Agee himself 
had been deprived of his American passport in 1981 and 
traveled over the next few years on passports issued by, 
successively, Maurice Bishop’s Marxist-Leninist regime 
in Grenada and the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. 
His influence, by now, was in sharp decline. As he 
complained, “My 1983 call for a continent-wide action 
front against the CIA’s people in Latin America went 
nowhere. People had other preoccupations and 
priorities.”^ ^ 

LIKE THE CIA, the FBI was inevitably a major target of 
KGB active measures. Until the death of J. Edgar Hoover 
in 1972, many of these measures were personally directed 
against the Bureau’s long-serving, aging and irascible 
director. Service A employed three simple and sometimes 
crude techniques. The first was to portray Hoover as in 
league with extremists such as the ultra right-wing John 
Birch Society, whose founder regarded even the former 
Republican president Dwight D. Eisenhower as “a 
dedicated conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy.” 
Service A had acquired both some of the society’s 
stationery and samples of its leaders’ signatures from its 
California headquarters to assist it in its forgeries. In 
November 1965 it fabricated a letter of good wishes from 
Hoover to the leader of the John Birch Society, reminding 
him that the FBI funds put at his disposal would enable 
the society to open several more branches. 

A second, more sophisticated form of active measures 
concerned alleged FBI abuses of civil rights. Operation 
SPIRT was designed to demonstrate that the head of the 
Passport Office in the State Department, Frances Knight, 
was a secret FBI agent whose loyalty was to Hoover 
rather than to the Secretary of State. In 1967 Service A 
forged a letter from Ms. Knight to Hoover and arranged 
for it to be sent to the celebrated columnist Drew Pearson, 
who published it in the Washington Post on August AP 
The fabricated letter reported that a situation of “extreme 

urgency” had arisen as a result of press enquiries about an 
alleged FBI request to her for information on Professor H. 
Stuart Hughes, a Harvard critic of American policy in 

I am seriously afraid that this may indicate 
preparations for a sustained press campaign against 
us. We have already discussed the attitude of the 
Secretary of State towards the long-established 
practice of the department making inquiries at the 
request of the FBI ... 

Forgive me if I sound alarmist, but I am quite 
certain from what I have heard that a principle of 
vital importance is at stake which affects the whole 
conduct of the government and, in particular, the 
effectiveness of the Bureau. 

Ms. Knight told Hoover she was unwilling to commit too 
much to paper and suggested an urgent meeting with 
him.^^ Knight and Hoover both dismissed the letter as a 
forgery, but the fact that neither denied the FBI’s contacts 
with the Passport Office persuaded the KGB that at least 
some of its mud had stuck. 

A third line of attack deployed by Service A against 
Hoover was to accuse him of being a homosexual. The 
truth about Hoover’s probably severely repressed 
sexuality is unlikely ever to be known. Later, much- 
publicized claims that he was a gay cross-dresser whose 

wardrobe included a red dress and boa, which made him 
look like “an old flapper,” and a black dress, “very fluffy, 
with flounces, and lace stockings,” which he wore with a 
black curly wig, rest on little more than the discredited 
testimony of a convicted perjurer, Susan Rosenstiel, who 
claimed to have seen Hoover so attired. Nor is there any 
reliable evidence that Hoover and his deputy, Clyde 
Tolson, who shared his house, ever had a homosexual 
relationship. But attempts to portray him as a heterosexual 
are also less than convincing. Hoover had no known 
female liaisons. As his staunchly loyal number three, 
“Deke” DeLoach, acknowledges, probably the only 
person he had ever loved was his mother: “Hoover’s 
capacity to feel deeply for other human beings [was] 
interred with her in the Old Congressional Cemetery near 
Seward Square. 

The later commercial success, admittedly in a more 
prurient period, of fanciful stories of Hoover at gay 
transvestite parties suggests that in fabricating stories of 
his homosexual affairs in the late 1960s Service A had hit 
upon a potentially promising active measures theme. 
DeLoach was later depressed to discover how readily 
such stories were accepted as “undeniable truth:” 

“Tell us about Hoover and Tolson,” people would 


“Was it obvious?” 

“Did everyone know what was going on?”^^ 

As sometimes happened, however, Service A spoiled a 
plausible falsehood by surrounding it with improbable 
amounts of conspiracy theory. It sent anonymous letters, 
intended to appear to come from the Ku Klux Klan, to the 
editors of leading newspapers, accusing Hoover of 
personally selecting for promotion in the FBI 
homosexuals from whom he expected sexual favors. Not 
content with turning the FBI into “a den of faggots,” 
Hoover had also allegedly been engaged for several 
decades in a larger gay conspiracy to staff the CIA and the 
State Department with homosexuals. The national security 
of the United States, claimed the letters, was now 
seriously at risk.^^ Service A’s belief that major 
newspapers would take seriously nonsense of this kind, 
especially emanating from the Ku Klux Klan, was graphic 
evidence of the limitations in its understanding of 
American society. The letters had, predictably, no 
observable effect. 

THE MOST CELEBRATED victim of the FBI’s own 
active measures was the great civil rights leader Martin 
Luther King. Hoover’s obsessive belief that King was “a 
tom cat with degenerate sexual urges” and his simmering 
resentment at King’s criticism of the FBI led him to make 
the preposterous allegation to a group of journalists in 
1964 that “King is the most notorious liar in the country.” 
When his staff urged him to insist that his outburst was 

off the record, Hoover refused. “Feel free,” he told the 
journalists, “to print my remarks as given.” The active 
measures against King were organized, apparently 
without Hoover’s knowledge, by FBI Assistant Director 
William C. Sullivan. In December 1964 Sullivan sent 
King a tape recording of some of his adulterous sexual 
liaisons which the Bureau had obtained by bugging his 
room in Washington’s Willard Hotel. With the tape was 
an anonymous letter which purported to come from a 
disillusioned former supporter: 

King, look into your heart. You know you are a 
complete fraud and a great liability to all of us 
Negroes ... You could have been our greatest leader. 
You, even at an early age, have turned out to be a 
dissolute, abnormal moral imbecile ... You are 
finished. You will find on the record for all time ... 
your hideous abnormalities ... What incredible 
evilness. It is all there on the record. 

King was probably the only prominent American to be 
the target of active measures by both the FBI and the 
KGB. By the mid-1960s the claims by the CPUSA 
leadership that secret Party members within King’s 
entourage would be able to “guide” his policies had 
proved to be hollow. To the Centre’s dismay. King 
repeatedly linked the aims of the civil rights movement 
not to the alleged worldwide struggle against American 

imperialism but to the fulfillment of the American dream 
and “the magnificent words of the Constitution and the 
Declaration of Independence.” He wrote in his 
inspirational “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in 1963: 

I have no despair about the future ... We will reach 
the goal of freedom in Birmingham [Alabama] and 
all over the nation, because the goal of America is 
freedom ... We will win our freedom because the 
sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of 
God are embodied in our echoing demands. 

Having given up hope of influencing King, the Centre 
aimed instead at replacing him with a more radical and 
malleable leader. In August 1967 the Centre approved an 
operational plan by the deputy head of Service A, Yuri 
Modin, former controller of the Magnificent Five, to 
discredit King and his chief lieutenants by placing articles 
in the African press, which could then be reprinted in 
American newspapers, portraying King as an “Uncle 
Tom” who was secretly receiving government subsidies 
to tame the civil rights movement and prevent it 
threatening the Johnson administration. While leading 
freedom marches under the admiring glare of worldwide 
television. King was allegedly in close touch with the 

The same operational plan also contained a series of 
active measures designed to discredit US policy “on the 

Negro issue.” The Centre authorized Modin: 

• To organize, through the use of KGB 
residency resources in the US, the publication and 
distribution of brochures, pamphlets, leaflets and 
appeals denouncing the policy of the Johnson 
administration on the Negro question and exposing 
the brutal terrorist methods being used by the 
government to suppress the Negro rights movement. 

• To arrange, via available agent resources, for 
leading figures in the legal profession to make public 
statements discrediting the policy of the Johnson 
administration on the Negro question. 

• To forge and distribute through illegal 
channels a document showing that the John Birch 
Society, in conjunction with the Minuteman 
organization, is developing a plan for the physical 
elimination of leading figures in the Negro 
movement in the US.^^ 

Service A sought to exploit the violent images of the 
long, hot summers which began in August 1965 with race 
riots in Watts, the black Los Angeles ghetto, which 
resulted in thirty-six deaths, left 1,032 injured and caused 
damage estimated at over 40 million dollars. The Centre 
seems to have hoped that as violence intensified King 
would be swept aside by black radicals such as Stokeley 
Carmichael, who told a meeting of Third World 
revolutionaries in Cuba in the summer of 1967, “We have 
a common enemy. Our struggle is to overthrow this 

system ... We are moving into open guerrilla warfare in 
the United States.” Traveling on to North Vietnam, 
Carmichael declared in Hanoi, “We are not reformists ... 
We are revolutionaries. We want to change the American 

King’s assassination on April 4, 1968 was quickly 
followed by the violence and rioting which the KGB had 
earlier blamed King for trying to prevent. Within a week 
riots had erupted in over a hundred cities, forty-six people 
had been killed, 3,500 injured and 20,000 arrested. To 
“Deke” DeLoach, it seemed that, “The nation was 
teetering on the brink of anarchy. Henceforth, instead 
of dismissing King as an Uncle Tom, Service A portrayed 
him as a martyr of the black liberation movement and 
spread conspiracy theories alleging that his murder had 
been planned by white racists with the connivance of the 

Simultaneously the Centre implemented a series of 
active measures designed to weaken the internal cohesion 
of the United States and undermine its international 
reputation by inciting race hatred. In 1971 Andropov 
personally approved the fabrication of pamphlets full of 
racist insults purporting to come from the extremist 
Jewish Defense League, headed by Meir Kahane, calling 
for a campaign against the “black mongrels” who, it was 
claimed, were attacking Jews and looting Jewish shops. 
Thirty pamphlets were mailed to a series of militant black 

groups in the hope of producing “mass disorders in New 
York.” At the same time forged letters were sent to sixty 
black organizations giving fictitious details of atrocities 
committed by the League against blacks and calling for 
vengeance against Kahane and his chief lieutenants. 
Probably to the Centre’s disappointment, Kahane was 
assassinated some years later, not by a black militant but 
by an Arab. 

On at least one occasion, the Centre ordered the use of 
explosives to exacerbate racial tensions in New York. On 
July 25, 1971 the head of the FCD First (North American) 
Department, Anatoli Tikhonovich Kireyev, instructed the 
New York residency to proceed with operation 
PANDORA: the planting of a delayed-action explosive 
package in “the Negro section of New York.” Kireyev’s 
preferred target was “one of the Negro colleges.” After 
the explosion the residency was ordered to make 
anonymous telephone calls to two or three black 
organizations, claiming that the explosion was the work 
of the Jewish Defense League. 

The attempt to stir up racial tensions in the United 
States remained part of Service A’s stock-in-trade for the 
remainder of the Cold War. Before the Los Angeles 
Olympics in 1984, for example. Line PR officers in the 
Washington residency mailed bogus communications 
from the Ku Klux Klan to the Olympic committees of 
African and Asian countries. Among the racial taunts 
devised by Service A for inclusion in the mailings was the 


African monkeys! 

A grand reception awaits you in Los Angeles! 

We are preparing for the Olympic games by shooting 
at black moving targets. 

In Los Angeles our own Olympic flames are ready to 
incinerate you. The highest award for a true 
American patriot would be the lynching of an 
African monkey. 

Blacks, Welcome to the Olympic games in Los 

WeTl give you a reception you’ll never forget! 

This and other active measures on the same theme made 
front-page news in many countries. When Attorney- 
General William French Smith denounced the letters as 
KGB forgeries, Moscow predictably feigned righteous 
indignation at Washington’s anti-Soviet slanders.^^ 

THE CENTRE’S ASSESSMENT of “anti-Sovietism” in 
the United States changed radically at the beginning of the 
1970s. In 1968 the Kremlin had been so anxious to 
prevent the election of the veteran anti-Communist 
Richard Nixon that it had secretly offered to subsidize the 
campaign of his Democratic opponent, Hubert 
Humphrey.^^ Once in office, however, Nixon rapidly 

emerged as the architect of detente. More Soviet- 
American agreements were signed in 1972-3 than in the 
entire forty years since the establishment of diplomatic 
relations between Moscow and Washington. Nixon’s 
resignation in August 1974, under threat of impeachment 
for his involvement in the Watergate scandal, caused both 
dismay and deep suspicion in Moscow. Seen from the 
Kremlin, Nixon’s attempts to conceal the use of dirty 
tricks against his opponents were, as Dobrynin later 
acknowledged, “a fairly natural thing to do. Who cared if 
it was a breach of the Constitution?” The conspiracy 
theorists in the Centre convinced themselves that Nixon’s 
dramatic fall from power was due far less to public 
indignation over Watergate than to conspiracy by the 
enemies of detente — in particular the “Jewish lobby,” 
who were campaigning for unrestricted emigration by 
Soviet Jews to Israel, and the military-industrial complex, 
which was anxious to prevent lower arms expenditure.^^ 
The key figure in holding together the anti-Soviet 
coalition, in the Centre’s view, was the liberal Democrat, 
Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson. Kissinger too regarded 
Jackson as “the indispensable link between the liberals, 
preoccupied with human rights [in the Soviet Union], and 
the conservatives, who became anxious about any 
negotiations with the Soviets.” “Jackson,” one 
commentator has written, “was not the type of leader who 
needed an impassioned aide to tell him what to think, but 
he had one anyway: Richard Perle, an intense, razor- sharp 

scourge of the Soviets who, despite his cherubic smile, 
earned the sobriquet Prince of Darkness from the legions 
he had engaged in bureaucratic battle.” Perle was the 
leader of what the KGB saw as a particularly dangerous 
part of the Jewish lobby: an informal group on Capitol 
Hill which included both paid Israeli lobbyists and 
congressional staffers. 

Jackson was propelled into battle in August 1972 by 
the Soviet announcement of an exit tax on emigrants, 
theoretically designed to repay the costs of their 
statefunded education but whose main practical effect 
would have been to reduce Jewish emigration to a trickle. 
In October Jackson introduced an amendment to the 
Nixon Trade Reform Bill barring the Soviet Union from 
receiving most-favored nation status and trade credits 
until it had lifted restrictions on emigration. Though 
Moscow quickly dropped the exit tax, Jackson maintained 
his amendment. For the next two years Kissinger 
conducted a shuttle diplomacy between Moscow and 
Jackson, trying vainly to obtain enough Soviet 
concessions on Jewish emigration to persuade Jackson to 
back down. “For a long time,” said Kissinger later, “I did 
not realize that Jackson could not be placated.”^^ 

Dobrynin reported to Moscow that Jackson “kept 
escalating his demands” in order to win the backing of the 
Jewish lobby for his attempt to win the Democratic 
nomination at the 1976 elect! on.^^ The New York 

resident, Boris Solomatin, informed the Centre that 
Jackson appeared to be in a strong position for the 
presidential primaries: 

Jackson’s strong point is the fact that, during his 
nearly thirty-five years in Congress, he has never 
been involved in any sort of political or personal 
scandal. In the post- Watergate period the personal 
integrity of a presidential candidate has had 
exceptionally great significance. It is necessary to 
find some stains on the Senator’s biography and use 
them to carry out an active measure which will 
compromise him. We must discuss with the 
American friends [the CPUS A] the most effective 
ways and means of opposing Jackson’s plans to 
become president of the USA. 

Others in the Centre cynically concluded that Jackson’s 
reticence about his private life “probably points to the 
existence of compromising information which could be 
used to discredit him and his family.” The KGB’s search 
for “compromising information” was extraordinarily 
wide-ranging. Despite the fact that Jackson’s parents had 
left Norway as long ago as 1885, the Oslo residency was 
ordered in 1974 to make a detailed investigation of his 
Norwegian relatives. As the American residencies 
examined Jackson’s long political career with a fine 
toothcomb, the most promising area which seemed to 

emerge was his sexuality. Jackson’s file in the Centre 
records that his marriage at the age of forty-nine “amazed 
many of his colleagues, who had considered him a 
confirmed bachelor.” Intensive KGB research, however, 
found no more incriminating evidence of homosexuality 
than the fact that for many years Jackson had shared an 
apartment in Washington with a male childhood friend. 

Lacking any proof that Jackson had ever been a 
practicing homosexual, the Centre decided to fabricate it 
in an active measure codenamed operation POROK. In 
1976 Service A forged an FBI memorandum, dated June 
20, 1940, in which Hoover reported to the Assistant 
Secretary of Justice that Jackson was a homosexual. 
Photocopies of the forgery were sent to the Chicago 
Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the Topeka Capital and 
Jimmy Carter’s campaign headquarters. Service A also 
sought to exploit a number of incidents during the 1976 
primary campaign. After an argument with a gay rights 
activist at a press conference in March, Jackson told him 
that he did not want his vote. During a television 
appearance in April, Jackson declared that 
“homosexuality leads to the destruction of the family.” 
The KGB sent these statements, together with bogus 
documents purporting to show that Jackson and Perle 
were members of a gay sex club, to, among others: 
Senator Edward Kennedy, who was thought “personally 
hostile to Jackson;” the columnist Jack Anderson; and the 
magazines Playboy and Penthouse. 

Because of Jackson’s continuing influence on the 
ratification of Soviet- American arms limitation 
agreements, operation POROK continued long after he 
had failed to gain the Democratic nomination. One of the 
aims of the operation during 1977 was to incite the gay 
press into attacking Jackson as a closet gay who 
hypocritically attacked homosexuality in public for his 
own political advantage. Early in May a Service A officer 
in New York posted a forged FBI document to the 
California-based magazine Gay Times reporting that 
Jackson had been an active homosexual while working as 
a state prosecutor in the early 1940s. Handwritten on the 
forgery was the heading “Our Gay in the US Senate.” 
Like the rest of operation POROK, the forgery had no 
discernible effect on Jackson’s career. 

THE CENTRE’S MAIN target within the Carter 
administration, which took office in 1977, was the Polish- 
bom National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, 
previously an ill-chosen KGB target for cultivation.^^ As 
Brzezinski later acknowledged, he and Secretary of State 
Cyms Vance engaged in a “prolonged and intense” debate 
over policy to the Soviet Union. The result, according to 
Vance, was an unstable balance between the “visceral 
anti-Sovietism” of Brzezinski and his own “attempt to 
regulate dangerous competition” between the 
superpowers.^^ “When Carter spoke on foreign affairs,” 
complained Dobrynin, the Soviet ambassador, “we tended 

to hear echoes of the anti-Sovietism of Brzezinski.”^^ The 
aim of Service A was to diminish Brzezinski’s influence 
relative to Vance’s and, if possible, to engineer his 

The Centre ordered its American residencies to begin a 
trawl for potentially damaging information on Brzezinski 
as wide-ranging as that which preceded operation 
POROK. Was Brzezinski concealing Jewish origins? Was 
he having an affair with the actress Candice Bergen? Was 
there any compromising material on his relations with, 
among others, his deputy David Aaron, his special 
assistant Karl Inderfurth, Ambassador Richard Gardner 
and the Polish emigre community? 

Though muckraking in the United States appears to 
have proved unproductive, the Centre was supplied with 
what it believed was sensational evidence of Brzezinski’s 
secret career in the CIA by the Bulgarian intelligence 
service. Probably under pressure from his interrogators, 
Henrich Natan Shpeter, a Bulgarian economist who had 
confessed to working for both American and Israeli 
intelligence, produced a bizarre account of a visit to 
Bulgaria in 1963 by Brzezinski, then a professor at 
Columbia University, as a guest of the Academy of 
Sciences. Shpeter allegedly claimed that Brzezinski was a 
CIA officer who contacted him by using a password, 
received intelligence from him and gave him further 
instructions for intelligence operations. In addition, even 
in 1963, according to Shpeter, Brzezinski had a major role 

in framing US policy towards the Soviet Bloc. 

Shpeter’s story, in short, was strikingly similar to those 
expected of defendants in Stalinist show trials. The 
Centre, however, was easily seduced by attractive 
conspiracy theories and used Shpeter’s bizarre tale as the 
basis of an active measure code-named operation 
MUREN. Service A drafted a bogus report on Brzezinski 
by an Israeli Zionist organization which included 
allegedly authentic details of his involvement in Shpeter’s 
espionage. The report went on to denounce Brzezinski as 
“a secret anti-Semite” and declared that the Zionists had 
compromising information on his private life which 
would seriously discredit him. 

The Centre decided to deliver this bizarre document to 
the US embassy in Israel, convinced that its contents were 
so sensational that they would be brought to carter’s as 
well as Vance’s attention. On August 20, 1978 the report 
was inserted through the half-open window of a car 
parked by an American diplomat on a street in East 
Jerusalem. In all probability, the US embassy 
dismissed the document as the work of a mildly deranged 
conspiracy theorist. Service A, however, persuaded itself 
that it had succeeded in putting Brzezinski ’s career in 
jeopardy. It seized on press articles during and after the 
negotiation of the Camp David agreement between Egypt 
and Israel in September 1978 — which appeared to show 
that Vance had established himself as Carter’s main 
foreign policy adviser — as proof that Brzezinski had been 

demoted. In November 1978 the deputy head of Service 
A, L. F. Sotskov, proudly reported to Andropov that 
operation MUREN had been successfully completed. 
Though the MUREN file fails to mention it, that judgment 
was doubtless revised the following year. The hardening 
of Carter’s policy to the Soviet Union was evident even 
before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan at the end of 


PROBABLY NO AMERICAN policymaker at any time 
during the Cold War inspired quite as much fear and 
loathing in Moscow as Ronald Reagan during his first 
term as president. Active measures against Reagan had 
begun during his unsuccessful bid for the Republican 
nomination in 1976. The Centre had no doubt that Reagan 
was far more anti-Soviet than either the incumbent 
president, Gerald Ford, or the Democratic contender, 
Jimmy Carter. As in the cases of Jackson and Brzezinski, 
Service A was ordered to embark on a remarkably wide- 
ranging quest for compromising material. The Centre 
ordered, inter alia, an investigation of reports that 
Reagan’s health had been affected by his father’s 
alcoholism. During his childhood Christmases, Reagan 
later recalled, “there was always a threat hanging over our 
family. We knew holidays were the most likely time for 
Jack [Reagan senior] to jump off the wagon. But such 
painful childhood memories were not the stuff of which 

successful active measures were made. Apart from 
confirming Reagan’s reputation as a Cold War warrior, 
Service A seems to have discovered nothing more 
damaging than alleged evidence of his “weak intellectual 
capabilities.” Service A successfully planted anti-Reagan 
articles in Denmark, France and India, where they 
found more fertile soil than in the United States, but it is 
barely conceivable that KGB active measures had any 
influence on Reagan’s failure to win the Republican 
nomination in 1976. 

The Centre was less involved in trying to influence the 
1980 presidential election than it had been four years 
earlier. Moscow saw little to choose between what it now 
saw as a Carter administration dominated by Brzezinski’s 
hard line policies and Reagan’s long-standing anti- 
Sovietism. “Fed up with Carter and uneasy about 
Reagan,” wrote Dobrynin, “it decided to stay on the 
fence.” After Reagan’s election, Moscow quickly 
regretted its fence-sitting, convinced that the new 
administration represented “the most conservative, 
chauvinist, and bellicose part of American politics ... 
pressing for the restoration of American world leadership 
after the defeat in Vietnam.” To Dobrynin’s dismay, the 
Kremlin succumbed to a “paranoid interpretation” of 
Reagan’s policy, fearful — ^particularly during 1983 — that 
he was planning a nuclear first strike. Dobrynin 
discovered from the Washington resident, Stanislav 
Andreyevich Androsov, the instructions for the vast 

KGB-GRU operation RYAN designed to detect Reagan’s 
non-existent preparations for the surprise attack. But 
RYAN remained so secret that most Soviet ambassadors 
were kept in ignorance of it.^^^ 

It was probably the extreme priority attached by the 
Centre to discrediting the policies of the Reagan 
administration which led Andropov to decree formally on 
April 12, 1982, as one of the last acts of his fifteen-year 
term as chairman of the KGB, that it was the duty of all 
foreign intelligence officers, whatever their “line” or 
department, to participate in active measures. Ensuring 
that Reagan did not serve a second term thus became 
Service A’s most important objective. On February 25, 
1983 the Centre instructed its three American residencies 
to begin planning active measures to ensure Reagan’s 
defeat in the presidential election of November 1984. 
They were ordered to acquire contacts on the staffs of all 
possible presidential candidates and in both party 
headquarters. Residencies outside the United States were 
told to report on the possibility of sending agents to take 
part in this operation. The Centre made clear that any 
candidate, of either party, would be preferable to Reagan. 
Residencies around the world were ordered to popularize 
the slogan “Reagan Means War!” The Centre announced 
five active measures “theses” to be used to discredit 
Reagan’s foreign policy: his militarist adventurism; his 
personal responsibility for accelerating the arms race; his 
support for repressive regimes around the world; his 

administration’s attempts to crush national liberation 
movements; and his responsibility for tension with his 
NATO allies. Active measures “theses” in domestic 
policy included Reagan’s alleged discrimination against 
ethnic minorities; corruption in his administration; and 
Reagan’s subservience to the military- industrial 

Reagan’s landslide victory in the 1984 election was 
striking evidence of the limitations of Soviet active 
measures within the United States. Even on university and 
college campuses Reagan was surprised by the 
(admittedly less than unanimous) “outpouring of affection 
and support:” “These students in the eighties seemed so 
different from those that I’d dealt with as governor a 
decade earlier.”^ Though Service A was never willing to 
admit it, there was little it could do to undermine a 
popular president. Its attacks on Reagan fell on much 
more fertile ground in Europe and the Third World, 
however, where his populist appeal to the American way 
was frequently ridiculed. 

were usually more effective outside than inside the United 
States. One of Service A’s most successful tactics was its 
use of forgeries of US documents shown in confidence to 
Third World leaders to alert them to supposedly hostile 
operations against them by the CIA and other American 
agencies. Since most of these forgeries were never made 

public, the United States was not usually able to challenge 
their authenticity. One characteristic example in the files 
noted by Mitrokhin was operation KULBIT in the 
Republic of Guinea in 1975. The operation was based on 
three French language leaflets attacking the government 
of President Sekou Toure, allegedly produced by the CIA 
station in the Guinean capital, Conakry, but in reality 
fabricated by Service A in Moscow. To heighten the 
dramatic impact of the forgeries, the Soviet ambassador in 
Conakry telephoned the Minister of Security, Mussa 
Diakite, at 6 p.m. on October 16, 1975 to tell him that a 
special emissary had arrived from Moscow with top secret 
information for the President of great importance. At 9 
p.m. the ambassador and O. A. Seliskov, deputy head of 
FCD Directorate K, were ushered by Diakite into the 
presence of Sekou Toure. Seliskov handed the President 
the three fabricated CIA leaflets, the first of which began 
with an attack on the high level of Guinean 
unemployment. According to the KGB file on operation 
KULBIT, on seeing the reference to unemployment, 
Sekou Toure turned to Diakite, waved the pamphlet in his 
face and angrily exclaimed, “The filthy imperialists!” 
Seliskov then described various alleged plots by the CIA 
station to overthrow the President, making the plots 
appear all the more convincing by incorporating into them 
various pieces of information which he knew were 
already known to the Guinean security service. Sekou 
Toure, by now “in an emotional state,” pounded the table 

and declared, “We will take decisive action against the 

US intelligence officers you have identified. They will be 

expelled within twenty- four hours!” When he calmed 

down, the President observed, as Service A had intended, 

that some of Seliskov’s information coincided with 

intelligence already in the possession of his security 


Sekou Toure was profuse in his thanks for the KGB 
disinformation: “We highly appreciate the concern shown 
by our Soviet comrades. This is not Chile, and we are not 
going to allow the same events [the overthrow of the 
President] to happen in our country.” He asked Seliskov 
how his top secret information on the machinations of the 
CIA, supposedly obtained from “important and reliable 
sources in the United States,” should be handled. “At your 
own discretion,” replied Seliskov graciously. Sekou Toure 
asked him to convey his “deepest gratitude” to the 
appropriate Soviet authorities and asked to be kept 
informed about future imperialist threats to the security of 
the Guinean Republic. 

The fabrication of compromising US documents and 
imaginary CIA plots continued into the Gorbachev era. In 
addition to the “silent forgeries” shown privately to Sekou 
Toure and other gullible political leaders around the 
world, forgeries were used to promote media campaigns: 
among them, in 1987, a forged letter from the DCI, 
William Casey, on plans to overthrow the Indian prime 
minister, Rajiv Gandhi; in 1988, bogus instructions from 

Reagan to destabilize Panama; and in 1989, a fabricated 
letter from the South African foreign minister, “Pik” 
Botha, referring to a sinister but non-existent secret 
agreement with the United States. 

Probably the most successful anti-American active 
measure of the Gorbachev era, promoted by a mixture of 
overt propaganda and covert action by Service A, was the 
story that the AIDS virus had been “manufactured” by 
American biological warfare specialists at Fort Detrick in 
Maryland. An East German, Russian-bom physicist. 
Professor Jacob Segal, claimed on the basis of 
“circumstantial evidence” (later wholly discredited) that 
AIDS had been artificially synthesized at Fort Detrick 
from two natural viruses, VISNA and HTLV-1. Thus 
fortified by spurious scientific jargon, the AIDS 
fabrication not merely swept through the Third World, but 
took in some of the Western media as well. In October 
1986 the conservative British Sunday Express made it its 
main front-page story. During the first six months of 1987 
alone, the story received major news coverage in over 
forty Third World countries. 

At the very height of its success, however, the AIDS 
fabrication was compromised by a combination of 
Western protests and “new thinking” in Soviet foreign 
policy. “We tell the truth and nothing but the truth,” 
Gorbachev proudly proclaimed at a Moscow press 
conference in July 1987. Faced with official American 
protests and the repudiation of the AIDS story by the 

international scientific community, the Kremlin for the 
first time showed signs of embarrassment at a successful 
active measures campaign. In August 1987 US officials in 
Moscow were informed that the story was officially 
disowned and Soviet media coverage of it came to an 
abrupt halt. 

The AIDS fabrication, however, was swiftly followed 
by other, equally scurrilous anti-American active 
measures in the Third World, some of which also seduced 
sections of the Western media. Among the most 
successful was the “baby parts” story, alleging that rich 
Americans were butchering Third World children in order 
to use their bodies for organ transplants in the United 
States. In September 1988 a motion in the European 
Parliament condemning the alleged trafficking in “baby 
parts,” proposed by a French Communist MEP, passed on 
a show of hands in a poorly attended session. 

Even the end of the Cold War did little to diminish the 
enthusiasm for active measures of both Kryuchkov, who 
became chairman of the KGB in 1988, and Leonid 
Shebarshin, who succeeded him as head of the FCD. 
Shebarshin, who had made his reputation as resident in 
India from 1975 to 1977 in part by the success of his 
active measures operations, was wont to speak 
“nostalgically about the old days, about disinformation — 
forging documents, creating sensations for the press. 

Not all KGB personnel, however, shared their chiefs’ 
continuing enthusiasm for active measures. Kryuchkov 

complained in September 1990 that some FCD officers in 
both Moscow and foreign residencies “underestimate the 
importance and the role of measures designed to promote 
influence.” He issued a formal “Order of the Chairman of 
the KGB” requiring “refinement of the work of the 
foreign intelligence service in the field of active 
measures” and insisting that “their importance in 
intelligence work is continuing to grow:” 

In effect the joint political and operational scenario 
and the interests of the Soviet state and its society 
require the KGB foreign intelligence service to 
introduce active measures with greater ingenuity, 
inventiveness and secrecy which will enhance the 
level of their effectiveness ... Work on active 
measures is to be considered one of the most 
important functions of the KGB’s foreign 
intelligence service. 

The FCD training school, the Andropov Institute, was 
instructed to prepare new “specialist courses in active 
measures.” Among the most important “themes” for 
active measures was to frighten off support by the West — 
in particular the United States — for nationalist movements 
in the Baltic republics and other parts of the Soviet Union: 

In Western government and political circles and in 
influential emigre groups, it is important ... to 

strengthen the conviction that an adventurist gamble 
on the disintegration of the Soviet Federation and 
statehood would lead to a disruption of 
contemporary international relations with the 
attendant unpredictable consequences.^ 

Amid the active measures promoted by the SVR in the 
mid-1990s there remained some echoes of its KGB past. 
Yeltsin’s memoir, The View from the Kremlin, published 
in the West in 1994, ends with an appendix which 
contains two specially selected examples of KGB 
documents in the secret archives of the Russian president. 
One concerns the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The 
KGB documents on this topic, probably drawn to 
Yeltsin’s attention by the SVR (then headed by Yevgeni 
Primakov), support the theory formerly propagated by 
Service A that Oswald had been selected as the assassin 
by “a group of Texas financiers and industrialists headed 
by millionaire Hunt:” 

Oswald was the most suitable figure for executing a 
terrorist act against Kennedy because his past 
allowed for the organization of a widespread 
propaganda campaign accusing the Soviet Union, 
Cuba, and the US Communist party of involvement 
in the assassination. But ... Ruby and the real 
instigators of Kennedy’s murder did not take into 
account the fact that Oswald suffered from 

psychiatric illness. When Ruby realized that after a 
prolonged interrogation Oswald was capable of 
confessing everything, Ruby immediately liquidated 

No conspiracy theory of the Cold War era seems to have 
greater staying power than that generated by the death of 
President John F. Kennedy. 



Part 1: Crushing the Prague Spring 

The KGB and its predecessors had played a crucial part in 
the creation of the Soviet Bloc after the Second World 
War. Throughout eastern Europe, Communistcontrolled 
security services, set up in the image of the KGB and 
overseen — except in Yugoslavia and Albania — ^by Soviet 
“advisers,” supervised the transition to so-called 
“people’s democracies.” Political development in most 
east European states followed the same basic pattern. 
Coalition governments with significant numbers of non- 
Communist ministers, but with the newly founded 
security services and the other main levers of power in 
Communist hands, were established immediately after 
German forces had been driven out. Following intervals 
ranging from a few months to three years, these 

governments were replaced by bogus, Communist-mn 
coalitions which paved the way for Stalinist one-party 
states taking their lead from Moscow. ^ 

The German Communist leader Walter Ulbricht 
announced to his inner circle on his return to Berlin from 
exile in Moscow on April 30, 1945: “It’s got to look 
democratic, but we must have everything under our 
control.”^ Because a democratic facade had to be 
preserved throughout eastern Europe, the open use of 
force to exclude non-Communist Parties from power had, 
so far as possible, to be avoided. Instead, the new security 
services took the lead in intimidation behind the scenes, 
using what became known in Hungary as “salami 
tactics” — slicing off one layer of opposition after another. 
Finally, the one-party people’s democracies, purged of all 
visible dissent, were legitimized by huge and fraudulent 
Communist majorities in elections rigged by the security 

During the early years of the Soviet Bloc, Soviet 
advisers kept the new security services on a tight rein. 
The witch-hunts and show trials designed to eliminate 
mostly imaginary supporters of Tito and Zionism from the 
leadership of the ruling Communist Parties of eastern 
Europe were orchestrated from Moscow. One of the 
alleged accomplices of the Hungarian Minister of the 
Interior, Laszlo Rajk, in the non-existent Titoist plot for 
which Rajk was executed in 1949, noted how, during his 

interrogation, officers of the Hungarian security service 
“smiled a flattering, servile smile when the Russians 
spoke to them” and “reacted to the most witless jokes of 
the [MGB] officers with obsequious trumpetings of 
immoderate laughter.”^ 

Even after Stalin’s death, any Soviet Bloc intelligence 
officer of whom the KGB disapproved became a marked 
man. Among them was Ernst Wollweber, head of the East 
German Stasi from 1953 to 1957, whose long connection 
with Soviet intelligence went back to his years as an 
NKVD agent in the 1930s, specializing in marine 
sabotage. Wollweber, however, had come to dislike 
Moscow’s habit of issuing peremptory orders and 
resented the fact that the KGB kept him ill-informed on 
its operations in West Germany. The KGB also distrusted 
Wollweber’s current mistress, Clara Vater, a German 
Communist who, like many of her comrades, had been 
unjustly imprisoned during Stalin’s Terror.^ Remarkably, 
it placed both her and her daughter, whom Wollweber had 
adopted, under surveillance inside East Germany. 
Wollweber was succeeded in 1957 by the sycophantically 
pro- Soviet Erich Mielke, who remained in office with 
Moscow’s blessing until 1989, becoming one of the 
world’s longest serving intelligence chiefs.^ 

ON EACH OF the three occasions when the Red Army 
intervened to restore pro- Soviet orthodoxy in a wayward 

Communist state — Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 
1968, Afghanistan in 1979 — the KGB played a prominent 
part in what was euphemistically termed the process of 
“normalization.” When the Hungarian uprising began in 
October 1956 with mass demonstrations calling for free 
elections and the withdrawal of Soviet troops, the KGB 
chairman. General Ivan Aleksandrovich Serov, flew to 
Budapest to take personal charge of KGB operations. At 
an emergency meeting of security and police officers in 
the interior ministry, Serov denounced their reluctance to 
fire on the demonstrators: “The fascists and imperialists 
are bringing out their shock troops into the streets of 
Budapest, and yet there are still comrades in your 
country’s armed forces who hesitate to use arms!” Sandor 
Kopacsi, the Budapest chief of police, who was soon to 
side with the freedom fighters, replied scornfully: 

Evidently the comrade adviser from Moscow has not 
yet had time to inform himself of the situation in our 
country. We need to tell him that these are not 
“fascists” or other “imperialists” who are organizing 
the demonstration; they come from the universities, 
the handpicked sons and daughters of peasants and 
workers, the fine flower of our country’s 
intelligentsia which is demanding its rights . . J 

A quarter of a century later Kopacsi still vividly recalled 
the long, withering glare in his direction from Serov’s 

steel-blue eyes. Shortly before Kopacsi escaped to the 
West, Serov told him, “I’m going to have you hanged 
from the highest tree in Budapest!” On the evening of 
November 3, 1956 a Hungarian delegation headed by Pal 
Maleter, the minister of defense, was invited to Soviet 
military headquarters at Tokol to discuss final details of 
the Red Army’s withdrawal from Hungarian soil. At 
midnight, while toasts were being drunk, Serov, 
brandishing a Mauser pistol, burst into the room at the 
head of a group of KGB officers and arrested Maleter and 
his colleagues. A series of mock executions over the next 
few hours convinced each member of the Hungarian 
delegation that all his colleagues had been shot.^ At 4 a.m. 
on November 4 the Red Army began the suppression of 
the Hungarian uprising. Serov and his deputy, KGB 
General K. Grebennik, who became military commandant 
of Budapest, stayed on to supervise the “normalization.”^ 
Though it was not until after the Prague Spring of 1968 
that the Red Army intervened again to enforce Soviet 
ideological orthodoxy, Moscow showed growing anxiety 
during the 1960s at increasing Western influence within 
the Soviet Bloc. The KGB reported that the West was 
engaged in wide-ranging “subversive activity in the 
political and ideological sphere against the socialist 
countries ... seeking to persuade the population of the 
superiority of the Western way of life.” The “subversion” 
took many forms: broadcasting, propagandist 

publications, information distributed by Western 

embassies, East- West cultural and scientific exchanges, 
tourism and letterwriting. In the Centre’s view. Western 
radio stations such as the BBC World Service and Radio 
Liberty threatened to cause “immense harm” by 
broadcasting propaganda designed to weaken the fraternal 
ties between the Soviet Union and the socialist states of 
eastern Europe. What most worried the KGB was that 
“the broadcasts were popular with the intelligentsia and 
young people.” According to statistics probably obtained 
from its Hungarian ally, the AVH, over 20 per cent of 
young people in Hungary listened to Western radio 
stations. During 1964 approximately fifty million postal 
items were exchanged between Hungarian citizens and the 
West, eight million more than in 1963. The KGB was also 
exercised by the growth in east European visitors to the 
West, who were in danger of returning with subversive 
ideas. In 1964 168,000 Hungarians and 150,000 

Czechoslovaks visited Western countries. Worse still, in 
the Centre’s view, many were unsupervised during their 
visits. The KGB complained that its Polish ally, the SB, 
had no officers in its foreign residencies who were 
responsible for monitoring the behavior of Polish tourists 
and Poles studying abroad. In 1964 34,500 Poles traveled 
to the West as individuals rather than as members of 

The KGB kept somewhat bizarre statistics of “harmful 
attitudes” and “hostile acts” in the Soviet Bloc, which it 

tended to lump together: such disparate phenomena as 
enthusiasm for Western pop music with cases of 
ideological deviation. In both 1965 and 1966 Hungarian 
young people were said to have been guilty of 
approximately 87,000 “harmful attitudes” and “hostile 
acts.” According to classified official statistics, the figure 
fell reassuringly, if somewhat surprisingly, to 68,000 in 
1968 and remained at about that level for the next decade. 
Disturbingly, however, about 30 per cent of the cases 
recorded concerned members of the Communist youth 
organization, Komsomol. 

“The West’s subversive activities,” complained one 
KGB report, were “harming the cause of Socialist 
construction” throughout the Soviet Bloc, encouraging 
nationalist tendencies in the states of eastern Europe and 
damaging their ties with the Soviet Union. The greatest 
harm was being done among the intelligentsia and young 
people. The KGB noted “an unhealthy tendency” among 
writers towards “ideological co-existence” with the West 
and a growing belief that literature was no business of the 
Party. Students showed a worrying tendency to set up 
independent non-Party organizations for “free discussion 
on the model of English clubs.” One undated KGB report 
picked out two subversive texts currently attracting 
“growing interest:” The New Class by the heretical 
Yugoslav Communist Milovan Djilas, and the works of 
the late nineteenth-century German philosopher Friedrich 

It is easy to see why Djilas’s devastating expose of the 
Soviet system as a co-optive oligarchy run by a privileged 
Party nomenklatura should have been seen as so 
subversive. In 1963 the twenty-year-old Russian dissident 
Vladimir Bukovsky was sent to psychiatric hospital for 
possessing a copy of it. Even for KGB officers The New 
Class was seen as a potentially dangerous text. When 
General Oleg Kalugin finally read the book in the KGB 
library in 1981, twenty- four years after its publication in 
the West, he found himself secretly agreeing with it.^^ 
Why Nietzsche should have been mentioned in the same 
breath as Djilas is more puzzling. His call for a 
“revaluation of all values” so that the life force of the 
strongest should not be hampered by the weak, though 
bearing some relation to the actual practice of Stalinism, 
was ideological anathema. But the works of Nietzsche, 
unlike those of Djilas, were scarcely likely to subvert the 
youth of the Soviet Bloc. The author of the KGB report 
probably knew no more about the great German 
philosopher than that he was a well-known enemy of 

The first stirrings of reform in Czechoslovakia in the 
mid-1960s, however, caused relatively little concern in 
the Centre. The chief target of the reformers, the aging 
and truculent Czechoslovak Communist Party (CPCz) 
leader, Antonin Novotny, was increasingly regarded in 
Moscow as a neo- Stalinist nuisance rather than as a 
bulwark against revisionism. In December 1967 Brezhnev 

made an unscheduled one-day visit to Prague at the 
request of Novotny, who was under pressure to relinquish 
the post of First Secretary, which he had hitherto 
combined with that of president. Brezhnev refused to 
intervene, telling Novotny bluntly to deal with the 
problem himself. Deprived of Soviet support, Novotny 
gave way to the reformers. 

The election of the 46-year-old Alexander Dubcek as 
the new First Secretary on January 5, 1968 initially 
aroused no disquiet in either the Kremlin or the Centre. 
Dubcek had spent most of his childhood in the Soviet 
Union, graduating with honors from the Moscow Higher 
Party School in 1958, and was condescendingly known 
within the KGB as “Our Sasha.” When the Czechoslovak 
attempt to create “Socialism with a human face” began, 
the FCD Eleventh (East European) Department at first 
concluded that “Our Sasha” was being cleverly 
manipulated by “bourgeois elements” in the CPCz. Once 
it became clear that Dubcek was himself one of the 
moving forces behind the reforms, the Centre felt a sense 
of personal betrayal. 

Dubcek believed, in retrospect, that Moscow took a 
secret decision to use the Red Army to crush the Prague 
Spring little more than two months after he succeeded 

Under Novotny and his predecessors, the Soviets had 

been permitted to control the Czechoslovak armed 

forces and secret police in various ways, which 
included an implicit “right” to approve key 
appointments. It was apparently not until mid-March 
that they realized that their proxies might be fired 
and replaced without their consent and decided to 
step in.^^ 

In reality Brezhnev remained unsure about the wisdom of 
military intervention until almost the eve of the August 
invasion. The Soviet prime minister, Alexei Kosygin, 
shared some of Brezhnev’s doubts. Both, however, 
gradually gave way to the hardliners in the Politburo. 

The case for military intervention was first put at the 
Politburo meeting on March 21 by the Ukrainian Party 
secretary, Petr Yefimovich Shelest, who declared that the 
fate of the whole “socialist camp” was at stake in the 
Prague Spring. Though it was “essential to seek out the 
healthy [pro- Soviet] forces in Czechoslovakia more 
actively,” he argued that “military measures” would also 
be necessary. Shelest was vigorously supported by the 
KGB chairman, Yuri Andropov, who called for “concrete 
measures” to prepare for armed intervention.^^ Though as 
yet only a candidate (non-voting) member of the 
Politburo, Andropov became an increasingly influential 
voice during the Czechoslovak crisis, willing to challenge 
Kosygin and other more senior figures who appeared 
reluctant to use force.^^ 

As Soviet ambassador in Budapest in 1956, Andropov 
had played a key role in suppressing the Hungarian 
Revolution. His insistence that the threat of counter- 
revolution had reached a critical stage helped to persuade 
an initially reluctant Khrushchev to agree to military 
intervention.^^ An admiring junior diplomat in the Soviet 
embassy later recalled how Andropov had been the first to 
“see through” the reformist prime minister, Imre Nagy, 
and had seemed completely in control of events even as 
Soviet tanks entered Budapest: “He was so calm — even 
when bullets were flying, when everyone else at the 
embassy felt like we were in a besieged fortress. As 
well as being an uncompromising advocate of force, 
Andropov had demonstrated his mastery of deception, 
successfully persuading Nagy that the Red Army was 
being withdrawn while simultaneously plotting his 
overthrow. When the Hungarian commander-in-chief 
phoned the Prime Minister’s office early on November 4 
to report the Soviet attack, Nagy told him, “Ambassador 
Andropov is with me and assures me there’s been some 
mistake and the Soviet government did not order an attack 
on Hungary. The Ambassador and I are trying to call 

In Czechoslovakia in 1968, as in Hungary in 1956, 
Andropov’s strategy was based on a mixture of deception 
and military might. Among the main instruments of 
deception during the Prague Spring were KGB illegals, all 

disguised as Westerners. Their deployment in 
Czechoslovakia in the first of what were henceforth 
termed PROGRESS operations marked a major 
innovation in the KGB’s use of illegals. Hitherto illegals 
had been sent overwhelmingly to the West rather than the 
East. Most of those deployed within the Soviet Bloc had 
been sent on missions (codenamed BAYKAL) either to 
cultivate Western tourists or to monitor contacts between 
Soviet citizens and Westerners. In 1966 and 1967, for 
example, a number of illegals were sent to Bulgarian 
Black Sea resorts to mingle with the growing number of 
Western holidaymakers and look for possible recruits. 
The illegal Stanislav Federovich Malotenko visited tourist 
areas of Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania and Czechoslovakia 
posing as a Western visitor in order to investigate, inter 
alia, “how willingly women agents agreed to have 
intimate relations with foreigners without permission” 
from the KGB.^^ 

During the Prague Spring illegals, posing as Western 
tourists, journalists, business people and students, were 
for the first time used in significant numbers in a country 
of the Soviet Bloc for both intelligence collection and 
active measures. Czechoslovak counter-revolutionaries, 
the Centre believed, would be much franker in revealing 
their subversive designs to those they believed Western 
sympathizers than to their neighbors in eastern Europe. 
Even within the FCD the PROGRESS operation in 
Czechoslovakia was known only to a small circle of 

senior officers. Initially the PROGRESS file was kept in 
the office of the head of Directorate S (Illegals), General 
Anatoli Ivanovich Lazarev, though, as operations in 
Czechoslovakia expanded, the group within the 
directorate who were privy to the secret also widened.^^ 

Of the first twenty illegals selected by the Centre for 
PROGRESS operations in Czechoslovakia during 1968,^^ 
at least five (GROMOV, SADKO, SEVIDOV, 
VLADIMIR and VLAS)^^ and probably another two 
(GURYEV and YEVDOKIMOV) posed as West 
Germans. There were also three bogus Austrians 
(ARTYOMOVA, DIM and VIKTOR)^ ^ and three bogus 
Britons (BELYAKOV, USKOV and VALYA),^^ 
fictitious Swiss (ALLA^^ and SEP^^), one Lebanese 
(YEFRAT^^) and one Mexican (ROY^^).^^ Probably in 
March, Andropov ordered that by May 12 at least fifteen 
of the illegals should be deployed in Czechoslovakia — 
more than had ever been despatched to any Western 
country in so short a period of time. Each was given a 
monthly allowance of 300 dollars as well as travel 
expenses and enough money to rent an apartment. 

Andropov also expanded the KGB legal representation 
in Prague. In addition to the KGB liaison office, headed 
by M. G. Kotov, which had been operating in the 
headquarters of the StB (its Czechoslovak equivalent) for 
the past twenty years, Andropov secretly established an 
undeclared KGB residency, headed by V. V. 

Surzhaninov, which began work in the Soviet embassy on 
April 26.^^ The deputy head of FCD Directorate S, G. F. 
Borzov, and another senior Line N officer, V. K. Umnov, 
were sent to the residency to co-ordinate the work of the 
illegals.^^ The main task both of the residency’s Line PR 
and of the KGB liaison with the StB was to identify 
reliable, pro- Soviet members of the CPCz to form a 
quisling government after a Soviet invasion. At the top of 
their list the KGB put four hardline members of the CPCz 
Presidium — Alois Indra, Jozef Lenart, Drahomir Kolder 
and Vasil Bil’ak — and a former minister of the interior, 
Rudolf Barak, who had been dismissed and imprisoned in 
1962, officially for embezzlement of Party funds but in 
reality for using the StB to collect an incriminating 
dossier on Novotny.^ ^ 

KGB officers in Prague had little difficulty in arranging 
meetings with Indra, Lenart, Kolder and Bil’ak, who were 
regular visitors to the Soviet embassy. It was considered 
too risky, however, to approach Barak directly after his 
release from prison early in May. Instead, the KGB 
residency used a female illegal, Galina Leonidovna 
Linitskaya (codenamed ALLA), operating with a Swiss 
passport in the name of Maria Werner, to make the first 
approach to Barak. For some years the vivacious ALLA 
had specialized in making contact with Western visitors to 
the Soviet Union who were of interest to the KGB. Her 
KGB file primly complains that she was “too sexually 

stimulated” and, despite having a daughter, “not a family 
person” (not a criticism which appears in the files of male 
illegals). ALLA had first met Barak in 1961, when he was 
minister of the interior, and succeeded in renewing 
contact with him soon after his release from prison. At 
ALLA’s request, Barak agreed to a meeting with B. S. 
Ivanov of the KGB residency.^^ 

Indra, Lenart, Kolder and Bil’ak were all to prove 
stalwarts of the neo- Stalinist regime which later presided 
over the destruction of “Socialism with a human face.” 
Barak, however, proved far less useful than the Prague 
residency had hoped, partly because of resentment — even 
by some pro- Soviet members of the CPCz leadership — at 
his brutality as minister of the interior when he had been 
in charge of the StB. He was not fully rehabilitated until 
1975, seven years after his release from prison.^^ 

THE KGB ILLEGALS deployed in Czechoslovakia had 
two main tasks: to penetrate the allegedly counter- 
revolutionary groups springing up during the Prague 
Spring in order to report on their subversive intentions; 
and to implement a series of active measures designed to 
discredit them. The main task of penetration was entrusted 
and SADKO.^^ Their chief targets were what the Centre 
saw as the main sources of subversive ideas: 

• the Union of Writers (in particular its 

chairman, Eduard Goldst Acker, and vice-chairman, 
Jan Prochazka, and the celebrated authors Pavel 
Kohout and Milan Kundera); 

• radical journals which had escaped 
Communist control such as the Union of Writers’ 
Literdrm Listy and the Socialist Party’s Svobodne 
slovo, as well as the increasingly unorthodox 
Communist Party newspaper. Rude prdvo; 

• leading reformists in television and radio (in 
particular Jifi Pelikan, the director-general of 
Czechoslovak television); 

• Charles University, especially its philosophy 
department, which took the lead in pressing for a 
new law protecting academic freedom, and leading 
student activists such as Lubomir Holecek and Jifi 

• K-231, a club of former political prisoners 
who had been jailed under the notorious Article 231 
of the Czechoslovak criminal code; 

• KAN, the club of non-Party activists, formed 
in early April to give those who were not Party 
members the opportunity to participate in public life 
and share in the building of “a new political system 
— hitherto never realized in history — democratic 

• and the Socialist and People’s Parties, 
struggling to recover the independent existence they 
had lost after the Communist coup in 1948.^^ 

One of the defining moments of the Prague Spring, 
which epitomized the new climate of political freedom 
and the near-collapse of official censorship, was the May 
Day procession through the capital, seen on television 
throughout the country. Instead of the usual tedious 
display of sycophantic admiration for the Party leadership 
and platitudinous slogans celebrating friendship with the 
Soviet Union, there was a spontaneous celebration of 
popular support for the reform movement combined with 
irreverent messages for Moscow such as the banners 
proclaiming “With the Soviet Union for ever — but not a 
day longer!” and “Long live the USSR — ^but at its own 
expense!” Dubcek remembered the day “with deep 
emotion,” “truly touched” by the support for him from the 
former political prisoners of K-231 and the non-Party 
activists of KAN. For Moscow, however, the day was an 
outrageous counter-revolutionary provocation which 
demonstrated that the Czechoslovak one-party state was 
in mortal danger.^^ 

The danger was all the greater because, in the Centre’s 
view, the StB was becoming increasingly unreliable. 
Probably Moscow’s leading bete noire in Oldfich 
Cemik’s government, which took power in April, was the 
interior minister, Josef Pavel, who was responsible for the 
StB. Ironically, the KGB placed much of the blame for 
Pavel’s appointment on Lubomir Strougal, who later 
turned against the reformists and played a prominent part 
in the return to pro- Soviet orthodoxy. According to a 

report in the KGB files, Strougal came into Cemik’s 
office soon after his appointment as prime minister and, 
fearing that the office was bugged, asked him to come for 
a stroll by the river Vltava, which runs through the center 
of Prague. During their walk Strougal urged Cemik to 
give Pavel the interior ministry. Because Pavel had spent 
some years in prison during the early 1950s, Strougal 
argued that he could be relied upon to ensure that the 
police and the StB did not abuse their powers. Cerik 
allegedly agreed with his arguments. In late April, soon 
after becoming Interior Minister, Pavel announced that 
both the ministry and the StB were henceforth to be under 
government — not Party — control, and that a series of 
senior officials were to be sacked. Among them was the 
pro-Soviet head of the StB, Josef Houska, who was 
dismissed in June. Some weeks before he left, he handed 
the KGB photocopies of a series of StB personnel files. 

On May 1 0 Aleksei Kosygin, the Soviet prime minister, 
sent Cerik, his Czech counterpart, an outraged letter 
complaining, among other things, that “agents and 
saboteurs” disguised as Western tourists had been able to 
penetrate Czechoslovakia because of poor border 
security.^^ What Kosygin predictably failed to mention, 
however, was that the most active agents and all the 
saboteurs with Western passports were KGB illegals. On 
the very day he sent his letter, GROMOV ( Vasili 
Antonovich Gordievsky) and GURYEV (Valentin 

Aleksandrovich Gutin), both posing as West Germans, 
were attempting to kidnap two of the most eloquent 
tribunes of the Prague Spring. GROMOV had recent 
experience in kidnapping. Only a month earlier he had 
been decorated for an assignment in Sweden, which 
involved exfiltrating another illegal, FAUST, who was 
considered by the Centre to have developed a persecution 
syndrome. Once back in the Soviet Union, FAUST had 
been sent to a psychiatric hospital for a year, then released 
and sacked from the KGB.^^ 

The targets selected for exfiltration by GROMOV and 
GURYEV in May 1968 were Professor Vaclav Cemy and 
Jan Prochizka.^^ Vaclav Cemy (codenamed TEMNY),^^ 
one of Czechoslovakia’s leading authorities on Romance 
literature, had been expelled from his chair at Charles 
University after the Communist coup in 1948 but re- 
emerged during the Prague Spring as a founder member 
of KAN and an eloquent advocate of academic freedom. 
At the June 1967 Congress of the Writers Union, Jan 
Prochizka had been one of those who took the lead in 
denouncing official censorship and demanding “freedom 
of creativity.”^^ Claiming to be concerned for his safety, 
GURYEV tried to persuade Cemy that he was in serious 
personal danger (presumably from the hardline opponents 
of reform) and offered to find him a temporary hiding 
place. GROMOV delivered a similar message to 
Prochizka. Once persuaded of the need to hide, both 

Cemy and Prochizka were to be handed over to thugs 
from Service V (the FCD “special actions” department), 
who would drive them in a car with CD plates which 
could cross unchecked into East Germany. If they 
resisted, Cemy and Prochizka were to be subdued with 
what the operational file euphemistically describes as 
“special substances.” 

The operation, however, was a miserable failure. After 
the persecution Cemy had suffered during the previous 
twenty years, GURYEV could not persuade him that he 
was in any greater danger than usual. GROMOV 
discovered to his dismay that Prochizka had been supplied 
with a bodyguard by Pavel. The Centre had also 
overlooked the language problems involved in the 
operation. Though Cemy was a good linguist, Prochizka 
spoke only Czech. Posing as a non-Czech-speaking West 
German, GROMOV found it difficult to communicate 
with him. Though he could probably have made himself 
understood in Russian, he would have risked revealing his 
real identity. After a few weeks GURYEV and 
GROMOV abandoned their kidnap attempts. 

In addition to their other missions during the Prague 
Spring, the illegals were tasked with a series of active 
measures collectively codenamed KHODOKI 
(“gobetweens”), which were intended to justify a Soviet 
invasion by fabricating evidence of a counter- 
revolutionary conspiracy by Czechoslovak “rightists” and 

Western intelligence services. Posing as sympathetic 
Westerners, the illegals tried to persuade editors and 
journalists to publish attacks on the Soviet Union and 
other provocative articles. They also attempted to interest 
Cemy and K-231 in accepting aid from a fictitious 
underground organization allegedly supplied with arms by 
the West. Josef Houska, the StB chief sacked by Pavel in 
June, was secretly informed of operation KHODOKI and 
agreed to co-operate with it.^^ 

By mid- July, as part of KHODOKI, the illegals had 
succeeded in planting fabricated evidence of preparations 
for an armed coup. On July 19 Pravda reported the 
discovery of a “secret cache” of American weapons near 
the West German border, some conveniently contained in 
packages marked “Made in USA,” which had allegedly 
been smuggled into Czechoslovakia by “revenge seekers 
and champions of the old order.” The Soviet authorities, it 
claimed, had also obtained a copy of an American “secret 
plan” to overthrow the Prague regime. The press 
throughout the Soviet Bloc followed up Pravda'^ story 
with reports that hidden Western weapons were being 
discovered all over Czechoslovakia. Simultaneously 
bogus intelligence was fed to the StB implicating K-231 
and KAN in a counter-revolutionary conspiracy with 
Western intelligence services. 

The Soviet Politburo met to consider its next step in the 
crisis on the same day that Pravda produced its first 

report on the fictitious counter-revolutionary arms caches. 

Brezhnev began the meeting by proposing a final meeting 

with the Czechoslovak leadership to try to reach a 

negotiated settlement. Only if that failed should they take 

“extreme measures.” Andropov emerged as the chief 

spokesman of those who wanted extreme measures 

immediately. Bilateral talks, he argued, would achieve 

little, while any delay would increase the threat from “the 

rightists:” “They are fighting for survival now, and 

they’re fighting frenziedly ... Both we and they are 

making preparations, and theirs are very thorough. They 

are preparing the working class, the workers’ militia [for a 

conflict].” It was a bad-tempered meeting. Andropov 

became involved in a furious argument with Kosygin, 

whom he accused of “attacking” him, presumably because 

of his call for immediate military intervention. “I am not 

attacking you,” retorted Kosygin. “On the contrary, it is 

you who are attacking me!” The only full member of the 

Politburo who supported Andropov’s opposition to a final 

meeting with the CPCz leadership was K. T. Mazurov. 

However, the foreign minister, Andrei Gromyko, like 

Andropov a non- voting member of the Politburo and later 

his close ally, probably summed up the majority view 

when he declared that meeting Dubcek and his colleagues 

was no more than a necessary preliminary to invasion: 

“Clearly they will not accept our proposals. But then we 

can move to a decision about taking extreme measures 

As Gromyko had predicted, the meeting between the 
CPCz Presidium and the Soviet Politburo at the border 
town of Ciemi nad Tisou from July 29 to August 1 ended 
without agreement. After an StB investigation, Pavel 
reported to the CPCz Presidium that the alleged counter- 
revolutionary arms caches were a “provocation.” Though 
the weapons themselves were American, of Second World 
War vintage, some of them were in Soviet-made 
packaging. Other intelligence linking K-231 and KAN 
with Western secret services was also discovered to be 
fabricated. The KGB illegals behind operation 
KHODOKI, however, went undetected. Mitrokhin’s notes 
on KGB files lend some, though not conclusive, support 
to the claim by an StB defector that the KGB planned to 
murder the Soviet wives of a number of Czechoslovak 
citizens in August and blame their deaths on counter- 
revolutionaries. The plan was apparently discovered by 
the StB and aborted. 

At a meeting of the CPCz Party committee of the StB 
early in August, the head of StB foreign intelligence, 
Shuoj Frouz (codenamed FARKAC), argued that the 
KGB advisers in the StB were violating the principles of 
Czechoslovak- Soviet intelligence liaison and should be 
recalled to Moscow. A report of the meeting, at which 
other StB officers supported Frouz, was quickly relayed 
to the KGB.^^ After the Soviet invasion, those who had 
demanded the recall of the KGB advisers were arrested — 

with the significant exception of Frouz, who may well 
have made the demand on KGB instructions in order to 
identify the main anti-Soviet elements in the StB in 
advance of the invasion. 

As well as producing fabricated evidence of a Western 
plot for public consumption, Andropov supplied the 
Politburo throughout the crisis with slanted intelligence 
designed to strengthen its resolve to intervene. Probably 
the most important accurate intelligence on American 
policy to reach the Centre during the Prague Spring came 
from the Washington residency, where the dynamic 34- 
year-old head of Line PR, Oleg Kalugin, gained access to 
what he reported were “absolutely reliable documents” 
proving that neither the CIA nor any other agency was 
manipulating the Czechoslovak reform movement. These 
documents, however, failed to conform to Andropov’s 
conspiracy theory of an imperialist plot and were thus 
kept from the Politburo. On returning to Moscow, 
Kalugin was amazed to discover that the Centre had 
ordered that “my messages should not be shown to 
anyone, and destroyed.” Instead, on Andropov’s orders, 
“The KGB whipped up the fear that Czechoslovakia could 
fall victim to NATO aggression or to a coup.”^^ 

At a meeting in Moscow on August 18, the leaders of 
the Soviet Union and the other four “reliable” members of 
the Warsaw Pact — Bulgaria, East Germany, Hungary and 
Poland — formally agreed on the invasion of 
Czechoslovakia, the biggest armed action in Europe since 

the end of the Second World War.^^ At 4 p.m. on August 
20 a meeting of “reliable” members of the StB was 
briefed by Pavel’s pro- Soviet deputy, Viliam Salgovic, on 
plans for the invasion which was to begin that night and 
assigned tasks to assist the Warsaw Pact forces. Josef 
Houska, dismissed by Pavel two months earlier, returned 
to take charge of the StB. 

At about 9 a.m. on the morning of August 21, with 
Soviet forces already in key positions in Prague, the StB 
veteran Lieutenant Colonel Bohumil Molnir, who had 
been given a specially engraved automatic pistol by the 
former KGB chairman, Ivan Serov, for his assistance in 
crushing the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, briefed the 
group of StB officers selected by the KGB to arrest 
Dubcek and the reformist majority on the CPCz 
Presidium. Escorted by KGB officers, the arrest group 
proceeded to Dubcek’ s office in the Central Committee 
building, where one of them announced in what seemed to 
Dubcek the “mechanical voice” of a second-rate amateur 
actor: “I am placing you in custody in the name of the 
Workers’ and Peasants’ Government led by Comrade 
Indra.” He added, after a pause in which he seemed to be 
remembering his lines, that Dubcek and his colleagues 
would shortly be brought before a revolutionary tribunal, 
also headed by Alois Indra.^^ 

Indra and the other leading members of the quisling 
govemment-in-waiting selected by Moscow were already 

in the Soviet embassy ready to take power. But at this 
point the invasion plan had to be modified. Indra and his 
co-conspirators had mistakenly assured Moscow that the 
invasion would be supported by a majority of the CPCz 
leadership.^^ The fact that Dubcek retained a majority on 
the Presidium as well as overwhelming popular support 
forced Moscow to abandon its plan for a puppet regime 
and bring Dubcek and his colleagues to the Kremlin, 
under KGB escort, to be browbeaten into a degree of 
submission. Brezhnev stuck to the fabricated KGB story 
that “anti-socialist” forces had been preparing a coup: 

Underground command posts and arms caches have 
now come to light. We don’t want to make charges 
against you personally, that you’re guilty. You might 
not even have been aware of it ... 

As the discussion proceeded over the next few days, 
however, the Soviet Politburo passed from attempts to 
justify the invasion and the pretense of comradely 
solidarity to intimidation and coercion. Dubcek felt he 
had no option but to concede the main Soviet demands: 
“It could not have been otherwise. We were managing the 
affairs of an occupied country where the barrel of a Soviet 
gun was trained on our every move.” On August 26 the 
Czechoslovak delegation signed a secret protocol 
accepting a “temporary” occupation by forces of the 
Warsaw Pact. The decisions of the Extraordinary 

Fourteenth Congress of the CPCz hurriedly convened on 
August 22, which had condemned the invasion, were 
annulled. Some of the leading reformists in the Party, 
government, radio and television who had most outraged 
Moscow were dismissed. 

The Kremlin intended the Moscow protocol only as the 
beginning of a process of “normalization” which would 
rapidly turn the Prague Spring into winter. As a later 
official history of the CPCz complained: 

The Right ... still held the decisive positions in the 
Party, the state apparatus and the mass media ... The 
Marxist-Leninist forces in the Party and society led a 
difficult and complicated struggle from August 1968 
to April 1969, characterized by the gradual 
suppression of the Right. 

Of particular concern to Andropov was the continued 
strength of the “Right” in the StB, despite Houska’s arrest 
of some leading reformists. According to KGB reports 
from Prague, the situation was most serious in foreign 

In the [StB] First [foreign intelligence] Directorate 
nationalist passions were inflamed and there were 
acts of an anti-Soviet nature: removal of the Soviet 
flag, [hostile] slogans, attacks on Soviet military 
units sent to protect the old premises of the First 

Directorate, intelligence officers going underground, 
handing in their official passes, and stopping work in 
protest at the arrival of Soviet troops. 

The Centre was outraged by a series of resolutions passed 
by the plenary committee of the StB First Directorate 
Communist Party: 

1. Communists of the First Directorate 
Communist Party Organization welcome the return 
of the Czechoslovak delegation from Moscow and 
express their joy that comrades Dubcek, Smrkovsky, 
Cemik, Kriegel, Svoboda and others will have the 
possibility of resuming their constitutional and Party 
duties. [In fact, on Soviet insistence, Kriegel was 

In expressing their confidence in them, the 
Communists of the First Directorate Party 
Organization will continue to give these comrades 
their full support in implementing the [reformist] 
action program of the Czechoslovak Communist 

2. The First Directorate Communist Party 
Organization expresses concern about the contents of 
the final communique on the talks in Moscow, which 
reflects the fact that the talks were held in conditions 
of inequality, under pressure and with occupation 
forces present in the Czechoslovak Socialist 

3. The Communists again express their full 
support for the lawfully elected leadership of the 
Czechoslovak Intelligence Service and welcome its 
return to carry out its duties. The Communists 
demand an urgent investigation into all incidents in 
which the orders of this leadership, and also the 
orders of the Minister of Internal Affairs Pavel 
[sacked at Moscow’s insistence], were contravened. 
In this connection, it is also essential to determine 
what role was played by officers of the USSR KGB. 

The Party Organization recognizes the decisions 
of the Fourteenth Congress [annulled by the Moscow 
protocol] as lawful and places responsibility for the 
crisis on the Soviet troops. 

The KGB discovered that the StB resident in New 
York, codenamed PATERA, was trying vainly to 
persuade the Czechoslovak foreign minister, Jifi Hajek, to 
address the United Nations Security Council on the Soviet 
invasion, in defiance of the Moscow protocol. “If we did 
not raise the Czechoslovak question in the Security 
Council,” PATERA insisted, “the nation would declare us 
to be traitors. The StB resident in Washington, his eyes 
brimming with tears, told Oleg Kalugin, “My children 
will hate you for what you’ve done to my country. They 
will never forgive you for what happened. It took 
several years for “healthy forces,” as the KGB referred to 
the Soviet loyalists in the StB, to eradicate all trace of 


After the Soviet invasion KGB illegals remained 
central to Andropov’s strategy for penetrating and 
destabilizing “rightist” forces. PROGRESS operations 
in Czechoslovakia were augmented by other Soviet Bloc 
intelligence services. On August 25 Mielke, who had 
deployed East German illegals in Czechoslovakia during 
the Prague Spring, informed the Centre that he was 
sending a further contingent to Prague, together with Stasi 
officers to direct their operations and liaise with the KGB 
residency. In September Andropov and Sakharovsky, 
the head of the FCD, traveled to Warsaw and agreed a 
plan for the SB (the Polish KGB) to use both agents and 
illegals to penetrate the Czechoslovak “counter- 
revolutionary underground,” emigre groups and hostile 
intelligence services. 

The most valuable unwitting KGB source among the 
ranks of Czechoslovak “counter-revolutionaries” 
identified in the files seen by Mitrokhin was Leo Lappi 
(codenamed FREDDI), a former political prisoner and 
founder member of K-231. The fact that, though a 
Czechoslovak citizen, Lappi was an ethnic German made 
him far easier to cultivate than the majority of 
Czechoslovak citizens who were not fluent in Western 
languages. The first contact with Lappi was made by 
ALLA, posing as a German- speaking Swiss, in October 
1968.^^ After about two months his cultivation was 

handed over to another female illegal, ARTYOMOVA, 
who had assumed the identity of an Austrian 
businesswoman.^^ From February 1969 onwards, Lappi’s 
case officer was FYODOROV, who, using a West 
German passport in the name of Walter Brade, for the 
next decade became the leading illegal specializing in 
Czechoslovak operations. Since ALLA and 
ARTYOMOVA had reported that Lappi let rooms to 
foreigners, FYODOROV made initial contact with him on 
the pretext that he was a businessman looking for 
accommodation in Prague. 

Lappi had no idea that ALLA, ARTYOMOVA and 
FYODOROV were KGB illegals sent on missions to 
assist in the destruction of the last remnants of “socialism 
with a human face.” Instead, they successfully persuaded 
him that they were Western supporters of the Prague 
Spring, anxious to do what they could to assis